Housing supply concerns remain despite increase in affordable home approvals

Graeme Brown

Graeme Brown

A 30% increase in the number of affordable homes approved in Scotland does not completely alleviate concerns over the amount of homes needed to tackle the country’s housing crisis, according to Shelter Scotland.

The latest annual housing supply statistics, which were published yesterday, revealed that over 10,600 homes were approved over the year to June, while the number of new builds starts, across the public and private sector, rose by 4% from 17,765 to 18,391, the fourth consecutive annual increase and the highest annual number of starts since 2008-9.

However the housing and homelessness charity has highlighted concerns it has regarding the number of home completions as well as an increase in social tenant evictions.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “While it is welcome that approvals for new housing starts are up, the only figure that really matters in terms of tackling our housing crisis is the number of new affordable homes built.

“These figures show that last year only 7,336 new homes were completed under the Affordable Housing Supply Programme. This is just 14% of the Scottish Government’s five-year target to build 50,000 new affordable homes.”

Graeme Brown added: “The figures also show that a total of 3,510 homes were lost from the social housing stock last year due to a 68% increase in right-to-buy sales. That the out-dated right-to-buy policy has now come to an end is very good news for our housing system.

“It is also concerning that local authority eviction actions against social tenants resulted in a 9% increase in evictions and abandoned dwellings. This is further evidence that welfare reforms continue to hit some of the poorest people in our society the hardest and that social landlords need to focus on alternatives to eviction to prevent homelessness.”