A new £50 million infrastructure fund will speed up construction of thousands of new affordable and private homes in Scotland, Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil announced today.
The flexible grant and loan fund from the Scottish Government will help unlock strategic housing sites of importance to local authorities to increase the scale of housing delivery.
The fund forms part of a package of measures to support the increase in supply of homes across all tenures.
Key to this overall approach is the Scottish Government’s five year commitment to delivering at least 50,000 affordable homes, 70 per cent for social rent, backed by investment of over £3 billion.
New financing mechanisms are also being explored to expand mid-market rent developments.
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.
During a visit to Clyde Valley Housing Association’s new development in Kilsyth, Mr Neil commented:
“Today’s announcement underlines this Government’s determination to increase the pace and scale of development to deliver more homes across all tenures.
“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.
“We have listened to our partners and are putting in place measures to support the increase in the supply of homes across all tenures, support jobs in the construction industry, and encourage inclusive growth in the wider economy.”
Tom Barclay, Co-Chair of the Joint Housing Policy Delivery Group, said:
“As Co-Chair I hope I can speak for all the Group members in saying that we stand ready to work in partnership with the Scottish Government to take up the challenge in providing the much needed additional, affordable and high quality housing, that will not only help revitalise communities across the country, but will also make a significant contribution to the Scottish economy and our long term prosperity.”
Nicola Barclay, Chief Executive of trade body Homes for Scotland, added:
“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. Together with the “More Homes Scotland” programme the Scottish Government also unveiled today, it represents a significant step forward in helping to increase supply and to meet the diverse housing needs and aspirations of our growing population.”