by Margaret Little
Homes for Scotland, which represents companies which together provide 95% of all new homes built for sale as well as a significant proportion of affordable housing, has responded favourably to the SNP Government’s budget proposals.
In his budget statement this week, John Swinney reiterated the SNP’s manifesto commitment to deliver 30,000 new affordable homes over the course of this Parliament.
The Cabinet Secretary for Finance announced that the Government would be using innovative mechanisms such as the National Housing Trust and Tax Incremental Financing to secure additional funds and maximise investment.
In response to these budget announcements, Jonathan Fair, Chief Executive of home building industry body Homes for Scotland, said:
“Despite the very obvious pressure on public finances, the Scottish Government’s reaffirmation of its commitment to increase the supply of housing across all tenures is very welcome, recognising as it does the importance house building has in supporting jobs and boosting economic recovery.
“The remaining challenge, particularly with regards the target of ensuring 30,000 new affordable homes over the course of the current parliament, is how to deliver more for less. As demonstrated by the use of innovative funding models such as the National Housing Trust, this is a challenge our industry is already addressing.
“Additional money was allocated to a Warm Homes Fund to increase the impact being made in tackling fuel poverty and increasing energy efficiency.
“This is another area in which our industry has been considering alternative approaches designed to achieve major improvements at zero cost to the taxpayer. We are therefore very keen to explore these further with the Scottish Government.”
In a separate announcement praising Scottish Government policy, Homes for Scotland has welcomed the doubling of the Scottish Government’s recently launched Innovation and Investment Fund.
Mr Fair said:
“This second wave commitment of funding represents a significant boost for both the housing sector and the country in general in terms of helping to meet social need, safeguard jobs and aid economic recovery.
“With a particular focus on the need for even more creative and long-term investment models to ensure maximum value for money, something our industry has already been considering, we look forward to helping to shape thinking on priorities for the future use of the fund.”