Increase in council homes

Housing Minister Keith Brown welcomed official figures that confirm a sharp increase in the number of council houses built across Scotland.

In 2011, there were 866 council houses completions and the number of new council houses started in 2011 (1,224) compared to 2010 (1,048), showed a 17 per cent increase.

The Government has allocated almost £115 million to local authorities across Scotland, which will help deliver over 4,400 new council homes.

Mr Brown also highlighted other Government assistance to support the housing sector such as an additional £87 million invested in affordable homes, bringing capital spending over the next three years to at least £710 million.He also pointed to recent Scottish Government backing for a mortgage indemnity scheme to help thousands of people struggling to buy a home due to high deposit requirements.

There were 15,106 total new build completions across all sectors in the twelve months from October 2010 to September 2011, a 12 per cent decrease on the previous 12 months.

Housing Minister Keith Brown said: “The disappointing figures for completions across all sectors show that challenging economic conditions are continuing to have detrimental impact on house-building activity.

“However, in response the Scottish Government is doing all it can to support the industry and boost supply. We have committed to deliver 30,000 affordable homes during this Parliament, at least two-thirds of those for social rent and have put in place the funding to make that happen.

“To help achieve that figure we have awarded over £115 million to local authorities to build more council homes which will increase the supply of affordable homes and stimulate the economy.

“But it also important to acknowledge that high deposit requirements and reduced mortgage availability are proving a barrier to recovery in the housing market.

“Through shared equity schemes and our support for a mortgage indemnity scheme, which will increase the availability of 95 per cent loan to value mortgages for new build homes, we are working with lenders to help credit-worthy buyers get a foot onto, and move up, the property ladder.

“We will continue to call on the UK Government and lenders to do more to ensure that mortgages are available to those who can sustainably afford them.

“There is also a clear need to support the construction industry in the current economic climate. Next week’s budget provides an ideal opportunity for the Chancellor to provide the targeted support required for our house builders by supporting reduced rates of VAT on the construction sector.”