Scotland 'suffering from chronic housing shortfall of 100,000 new homes'

Scotland is suffering from a chronic housing shortfall of almost 100,000 new homes as a result of years of undersupply, an industry body has warned.

Homes for Scotland (HFS) is calling for a target of at least 25,000 new homes a year to meet levels of need and demand.

The Scottish Conservatives said the SNP's "dismal record on meeting Scotland's housing needs" had been "laid bare".

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HFS commissioned independent consultancy Lichfields to explore the social and economic benefits of new homes.

Taking statistics for 2019, when around 22,500 homes were built, the study calculated the benefits of increasing completion levels to 25,000.

It said these included 8,000 potential job opportunities, increased economic output of £300 million and £52m of local infrastructure investment.

HFS chief executive Nicola Barclay said: “Having a home is the most basic of human needs. Indeed, it is recognised by the UN as a human right."

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She added: “As the 2019 figures show, although we have been making progress towards the 25,000 homes of all tenures that we believe is necessary, there remains a significant housing gap.

"It is also still 12 per cent less than pre-2008 recession levels, resulting in a cumulative undersupply approaching 100,000 homes.

"The impact of reduced output due to Covid and supply chain issues during 2020 and 2021 has only exacerbated this situation.

“As well as fuelling house price inflation, this is causing regional disparities and preventing people from getting on and leading fulfilling and independent lives, whether that is moving out from the parental home, relocating for work, starting a family or downsizing."

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Scottish Tory housing spokesman Miles Briggs said: “The SNP’s dismal record on meeting Scotland’s housing needs is laid bare in this highly critical report.

“Even prior to the pandemic, SNP ministers had failed to hit crucial affordable homes targets.

“As we recover from the Covid crisis, we must be as bold as possible in driving forward the building of social housing, in particular, and restore the construction sector back to the levels we saw prior to the SNP coming to power.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Scotland has led the way in the delivery of affordable housing across the UK with more than 105,750 affordable homes delivered since 2007, over 73,000 of which were for social rent.

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“Homes have never been simply bricks and mortar – good housing and homes support our health, our wellbeing, our life chances and our job prospects. Everyone should have a home that brings those opportunities and that is why we’ve set a target to deliver 110,000 affordable homes by 2032, of which at least 70 per cent will be available for social rent and 10 per cent will be in our remote, rural and island communities. Delivering this ambitious target would support a total investment package of around £18 billion and up to 15,000 jobs each year.”

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