After the vote to leave the EU, industry fears housing targets are under threat
HOUSING professionals, in a new survey by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Scotland, have expressed concern that the UK’s recent Brexit vote could jeapordise the Scottish Government’s targets for affordable housing.
The survey of 2,300 of CIH Scotland’s professional membership revealed that members felt the Scottish Government’s target to build 10,000 affordable homes a year would be endangered.
More than 50 per cent of those who took the CIH Scotland were concerned that the Brexit decision would have a negative impact on their own organisation’s development and investment plans.
Scotland’s social housing sector has declined from a peak of 5,989 units completed in 2009-10 to 3,458 units in 2015-16.
CIH Scotland director Annie Mauger, who spoke to a selection of housing bodies at a conference, said: "We cannot predict what the future holds but this survey demonstrates just how much uncertainty there is in Scotland’s housing sector.
"In these times of economic and political uncertainty, we must ensure that we continue to work together to provide the new homes Scotland needs to support its growing population.
"Just as worrying as the lack of confidence in home-building is the concern members have about the potential impact of the recent referendum vote on our communities.
"The housing sector has always had a strong role in promoting community cohesion and this must remain a key focus going forward."
CIH members also were vocal in their concerns about the potential future impact of the Brexit vote on community cohesion and on the ability of ethnic and other minority groups to access housing in the future.
The uncertainty surrounding the political process for leaving the EU was, according to the survey, a significant reason as to why some housing developers may hold back investment and others on the social side may fear a drop in affordable stock.
Currently, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has disregarded any notion that Article 50, the administrative tool needed to trigger the UK’s exit from the EU, will be enacted within the year.
The CIH survey results, released on Wednesday, came a day before business, education and industry figures gave their evidence to a Holyrood committee on the ‘sobering’ effects of Brexit on the widespread Scottish economy.
"The housing sector has always had a strong role in promoting community cohesion and this must remain a key focus going forward." Annie Mauger
Official figures from the Scottish Government showed that the completion of new homes by Scotland’s social housing sector had declined from a peak of 5,989 units completed in 2009-10 to 3,458 units in 2015-16.
In recent years the record of housing completions overall has been an erratic picture with private sector led completions of housing falling throughout 2008 and the start of 2009 in the wake of the financial crisis.
Home completions for all sectors have also fallen between 2010 and 2012, going under 14,000 in 2013, before slightly increasing in 2014.
For the year to end December 2015 completions were at 15,954, up by three per cent from the previous year figure and there were 1,442 new council houses started in the latest year (to March 2016) and 1,083 were completed.
Picture courtesy of Stuart Crawford
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