Letter to Sturgeon

Housing leaders call for FM to signal return to work

Nicola Barclay HFS conf

Nicola Barclay: ‘confusion and uncertainty’ (pic: Terry Murden)

Housing leaders are urging the First Minister to give clear guidance on a phased return to work as construction work gets under way in England.

Pressure is growing in Scotland for a similar restart under strict health guidelines.

Nicola Barclay, chief executive of Homes for Scotland, says building firms in Scotland want to put the finishing touches to 6,000 largely completed homes worth in excess of £1 billion to the economy.

In a letter to Nicola Sturgeon signed by 20 industry leaders, Ms Barclay says the sector has “carefully considered and addressed all issues relating to the safe operation of construction sites and sales offices”.

She adds that this “timely request follows the announcement by the UK Government that estate agents and home builders in England can re-start the buying and selling process.

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“A similar announcement by the First Minister would allow customers in Scotland who have been left in lockdown limbo and who still wish to move to do so.”

Ms Barclay says the increasing divergence “creates more confusion and uncertainty for customers”.

The letter, representing national and smaller regional businesses, points to the detailed procedures developed by industry to ensure that activity can be safely recommenced as soon as the green light is given.

The signatories believe this first step would also help mitigate the pandemic’s wide-ranging shockwaves by limiting the damage in terms of housing supply, job losses and business failures.

The long-term survival of all these businesses depends on their ability to get back on site

– Nicola Barclay, Homes for Scotland

Ms Barclay writes: “The Scottish Government’s recently announced short-term loan facility for SME home builders is welcomed and will provide a lifeline for many.

“But there is no escaping the fact that the long-term survival of all these businesses depends on their ability to get back on site and build homes, for both owner-occupation and rent.

“As we see the first sets of figures being released about the financial impact of the lockdown, we can be sure that the full impact is still to be felt.

“Our industry contributes significantly to Scotland’s social and economic wellbeing and we are ready and willing to re-open safely with additional measures in place to help protect our employees and customers, while also supporting the struggling economy.

“Our board is now asking for the First Minister’s backing to allow us to do so.”

Signatories to letter

Ken Gillespie, Chair, Homes for Scotland Board
Alastair White, Managing Director, Muir Homes Ltd
David Stirling, Managing Director, Allan Water Homes
Doug Law, Managing Director, Persimmon Homes West
Doug McLeod, Regional Director Scotland, Barratt Homes
Elaine Farquharson Black, Partner, Brodies
Fraser Conn, Regional Director, Bellway Homes
Gary Milne, Technical Director, Stewart Milne Homes
Ian Drummond, Divisional Managing Director, Taylor Wimpey
Innes Smith, Managing Director, Springfield Properties
Jim Preston, Managing Director, Veitchi Group
Joanne Casey, Director, Mactaggart and Mickel
Joe Headon, Managing Director, Headon Developments
John Low, Chief Executive, Robertson Residential Group
John Stephen, Director, A&J Stephen
Mike Naysmith Managing Director, CALA Homes North Ltd.
Richard Jennings, Managing Director, Castle Rock Edinvar/Places for People
Sandy Grant, Chief Operating Officer, Tulloch Homes
Stewart Lynes, Chief Operating Officer, Miller Homes
Susan Jackson, Joint Managing Director, Campion Homes

Click here to read the full letter

See also:

Housing restarts in England as Scottish sites stay silent

Solicitor estate agents demand parity

ESPC and its member solicitor estate agents are calling on the Scottish Government for parity across the UK for solicitor estate agents accessing the business rates relief scheme. 

The differences in approach between the Scottish and English Governments has meant that while estate agents in England receive full business rates relief and have access to a £25,000 grant per branch, estate agents and solicitor estate agents in Scotland have been excluded from the Scottish scheme, leaving small family run businesses particularly vulnerable. 

These differences have become even more amplified by the news that general estate agent activity can resume in England from today, including visiting estate agents, viewing properties to buy and moving home, allowing these agents to generate more business.

One Comment to Housing leaders call for FM to signal return to work

  1. Does anyone else believe that the extended continuation of our furlough and lockdown has anything to do with the fact that Westminster is picking up the tab?

    Wouldn’t we all like to be able to offer such largesse when someone else is paying.

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