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Affordable housing target ‘at risk’, briefing note shows

The housing target was set in 2021 (Gareth Fuller/PA)
The housing target was set in 2021 (Gareth Fuller/PA)

A key Scottish Government target to build affordable homes over the next decade is “at risk”, according to a ministerial briefing obtained by Labour.

The commitment to build 110,000 affordable homes by 2032 was made in the 2021 Programme for Government, the first legislative agenda of the SNP-Green government.

However, last year it emerged that due to the slowing pace of new housing approvals, progress against the target was not going as quickly as planned.

Through freedom of information, Labour have now seen briefing notes from December which state “our target of delivering 110,000 affordable homes by 2032 is at risk”.

They say the Government will review the “timeline for delivery” later this year.

Delayed Scottish ferries
Shona Robison says housing is her ‘number one priority’ for new money (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Shona Robison’s latest draft budget has cut funding for affordable housing by £200 million, more than a quarter in real terms.

The deputy first minister says housing is her “number one priority” if more money becomes available.

Scottish Labour’s housing spokesman Mark Griffin said: “Behind closed doors the SNP-Green government knows its housebuilding plan is in chaos – but instead of getting things back on track it is slashing the programme’s funding.

“With Scotland in the grips of a housing emergency, it is more urgent than ever that we build the affordable housing our country desperately needs.

“The Greens cannot stand idly by while SNP ministers tear up the Bute House agreement and break another promise to the Scottish public.

“Instead of ditching this important pledge, the SNP-Green government must set out a real plan to deliver it.”

Housing Minister Paul McLennan said: “The Scottish Government led the UK by delivering approximately 130,000 affordable homes since 2007, over 89,000 for social rent, including almost 24,000 council homes.

“We will invest £556 million in 2024-25 affordable housing this year to increase delivery of more affordable homes, the majority for social rent, including acquisitions of existing properties.

“However, the UK Government failed to inflation-proof their capital budget, and this has resulted in nearly a 10% real-terms cut in our UK capital funding between 2023-24 and 2027-28.

“This is on top of the disastrous impact Brexit has had on construction supply chain issues, labour shortages and the inflationary pressures driven by UK Government financial mismanagement.

“We remain focused on delivering 110,000 affordable homes by 2032 and to support that we will bring forward the review scheduled for 2026-27 to 2024, which will concentrate on deliverability.

“In addition, we are accelerating work with the financial community in Scotland, and elsewhere, to boost private sector investment and help deliver more homes.”