SNP budget cuts blamed for sharp drop in new social homes built in Scotland

New houses being constructed
-Credit: (Image: PA Wire/PA Images)

Budget cuts by SNP ministers have been blamed for the amount of social housing built in Scotland dropping to an 11-year low.

The Scottish Government was accused of fuelling the country's housing emergency after previously slashing £196m from affordable accommodation.

Official figures published today showed the number of social homes completed in 2023-24 had dropped by 27 per cent year-on-year.

And the number of social houses started in the same 12 month period was just 580, the lowest figure since 2012-13.

Eight councils - including Glasgow and Edinburgh - have already declared housing emergencies in their local areas due to a chronic shortage of available accommodation.

A total of 19,632 homes were built across the country in 2023-24, a drop of 4,150 from the previous year, while construction began on 16,404 homes – down 15 per cent.

It comes as a growing number of families - including 10,000 children - are left stuck in temporary accommodation such as B&Bs or hotels due to being unable to find an affordable place to live.

Scottish Labour has claimed the Government has exacerbated the problem.

Mark Griffin, the party's housing spokesman, said: “Scotland is in the grips of a devastating housing emergency – from soaring rents to unaffordable mortgages to record levels of homelessness.

“Far from taking the urgent action needed to fix this crisis, the SNP has fuelled it.

“While housebuilding plummets once again, the SNP is ploughing ahead with its disastrous plans to slash funding for affordable housing.

“Meanwhile, the carnage of Liz Truss’s mini-budget continues to take its toll on mortgages.

“Scots cannot keep paying the price for SNP and Tory failure – it’s time for change.”

Paul McLennan, the housing minister, said 131,000 affordable homes have been built since 2007 across Scotland.

“We will continue to build on that record with almost £600 million of investment in the Affordable Housing Supply Programme in 2024-25,” he added.

“I recently outlined the Scottish Government’s plan to tackle the housing emergency with three key pillars forming part of our approach: more high quality, permanent homes; the right homes in the right places; and a permanent home for everyone.

“While we remain focused on delivering 110,000 affordable homes by 2032, our capital block grant is being reduced by nearly 10 per cent, a loss of more than £1.3 billion by 2027-28.

“Likewise, our financial transactions budget – key to delivering affordable housing – has been cut by 62 per cent."

Of the 110,000 homes pledged by the Government by 2032, 21,092 have been built.

Alison Watson, director of charity Shelter Scotland, said: “The continued decline in the number of social homes being delivered is the inevitable, and entirely foreseeable, consequence of repeated cuts to the housing budget.

“Investing in social housing means investing in people’s health and in our communities.

“Delivering more social housing is the only way to provide permanent homes for the 10,000 children in Scotland who are trapped in temporary accommodation.

“Investing in social homes is also investing in Scotland’s future.”

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