Government hits back after criticism over the level of housebuilding in Angus and Dundee

The Scottish Government has hit back at criticism of housebuilding in Angus and Dundee.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said the government is increasing affordable housing supply across Scotland to reach its target of 50,000 affordable homes in this parliamentary term.

He was speaking after local Conservative MSPs warned the “level of housebuilding in Angus and Dundee must do better to keep pace with demand for social housing”.

A National Statistics for Scotland publication revealed the Scotland-wide number of affordable homes was down over the year to June 2017.

Angus and Dundee were among the worst-performing local authority areas for housebuilding

Mr Stewart said: “We are increasing affordable housing supply across Scotland to reach our ambitious target of 50,000 affordable homes in this parliamentary term, backed by investment of £3 billion.

“Since 2007, this government has helped ensure the supply of affordable housing per head of population in Scotland has been a third higher than in England.

“We have delivered nearly 71,000 affordable homes in Scotland, including 48,813 homes for social rent which is a remarkable achievement.

“Councils across Scotland have received long term resource planning figures totalling £1.754 billion to March 2021, providing the certainty needed to deliver our ambitious target, including over £25 million for Angus and almost £50 million for Dundee.”

Angus and Dundee were in the lowest cohort for all sector completions in the year to end June 2017, with 20 homes or fewer being built per 10,000 population, along with Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, West Dunbartonshire and North Ayrshire.

The highest new build rates were observed in Fife, the Orkney Islands, Midlothian, East Lothian and Moray, with more than 40 houses built per 10,000 people.

North East region MSP Liam Kerr said: “In Angus the private sector has contributed the most to new building in 2017, which is in line with an 82% figure across Scotland.

“But housing association completions here and in Aberdeenshire are at the lowest levels found in Scotland, with two or fewer built per 10,000 population.

“Meanwhile, councils are being hammered by cuts to funding by the Scottish Government, with similar results.

“These are infinitesimally small figures and the SNP need to encourage both sectors to increase the number of properties they are building.

“Planning in Scotland is still hampered by delays at every level, and there is a significant amount of upheaval involved whenever Ministers become involved.”

Dundee City built no new homes in the year ending June 2017.

North East region MSP Bill Bowman said the SNP in government and local authority administration are “presiding over a crisis” in housing.

He added: “The Scottish Conservatives have found a massive deficit in the amount of affordable housing, which is especially evident in Dundee.

“Our manifesto committed to delivering 100,000 new homes over the course of this parliament, with half being affordable housing.”