Government cash welcomed

New fund to help speed up home-building

Nicola BarclayScotland’s home building industry has welcomed the Scottish Government’s new £50 million infrastructure fund aimed at speeding the construction of thousands of houses.

Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil said the flexible grant and loan fund will help “unlock strategic housing sites” for local authorities looking to increase the scale of house building across various sectors of the industry.

Mr Neil said: “The £50 million infrastructure fund will help unblock sites that are strategically important to councils and that have the potential to accelerate the delivery of thousands of new homes across the country.

“To make that happen we will team up with public and private sector bodies to tackle complex development, financing, infrastructure and planning issues impeding housing supply. We will also explore more innovative financing to build more homes for mid-market rent.”

All planning appeals for housing proposals of more than 100 units will now be recalled to ensure housing land supply issues are given ministerial scrutiny. The new fund forms part of a package of measures to support the Scottish Government’s five year commitment to delivering at least 50,000 affordable homes, backed by investment of over £3 billion.

Nicola Barclay (pictured), chief executive of Homes for Scotland, said the latest announcement was a significant step forward in helping to increase housing supply, although the trade body still wants to see further details.

She said: “New homes are not built in isolation. They need to be connected to existing facilities such as roads, water and drainage. New residents also need to have access to local services like schools, medical facilities and public transport.

“The challenge for home builders, however, is that they are often asked to make large financial contributions to meet these costs up-front, before they have begun to build and sell the new homes. This can present cash-flow issues and even make some developments unviable.

“We keenly await further details on today’s announcement but this national recognition of what is a massive barrier to the building of much-needed new homes of all tenures is welcomed.”

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