Building chief warns rural areas will lose out

Planned approvals for affordable housing in the isles have dropped by over 50 per cent in the last year, according to a housing expert.

Chief executive of the Scottish Building Federation, Michael Lev­ack, says rural communities will lose out following a housing announcement by the Scottish Government.

The nationalist authority has announced planned approval for the construction of over 8,000 new affordable homes across Scotland over the coming year.

Mr Levack welcomed the announcement, but warned “the devil is in the detail,” and said approvals in rural areas including Shetland would drop significantly.

“Compared to last year, the number of new affordable homes in Aberdeenshire, Moray, Lanarkshire, East Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde and Renfrewshire will all increase significantly,” he said.

“But looking at the detail, it seems that many of Scotland’s rural communities, where the shortage of affordable housing is often at its most acute, will lose out.

“Overall, planned approvals for affordable housing in rural Scotland will actually be mar­ginally down compared to last year, with big drops in the number of units in many rural areas including Shetland – down more than half.”

His comments follow a report from the Scottish Parliament’s rural affairs and environment committee, which underlined the critical need for many more houses to be built in rural Scotland over the coming years.

“I give the Scottish Government full recognition for the priority they’ve given to maintaining investment in affordable housing through the current economic downturn.

“But if we’re serious about sustaining our rural communities through that downturn and beyond, the number of affordable houses we build in rural areas needs to not go down but significantly up.”


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