Builders criticize one-year lag in housing statistics


Professional body Homes for Scotland (HFS) highlighted the one-year delay in releasing official housing statistics following the publication which shows a 35% drop in the number of new homes built across all areas in the world. during the year until the end of December 2020.

This represents a decrease of 7,839 from the previous year to 14,834.

Starts of new homes are down 27% for the year.

HFS Managing Director Nicola Barclay said: “The statistics come as no surprise, they are in line with the feedback we received from our members in 2020 and shared with politicians and officials over the years. one year.

“The numbers are, however, depressing – not only in terms of the extent of the recovery that will be needed to return to pre-Covid levels after all the positive progress of the past few years, but also in terms of doubling the time to release. these data, from six to 12 months.

Barclay complained that it is only through regular and frequent monitoring of starts and completions that the industry can measure the success or otherwise of housing interventions.

“This is one of the key points HFS made to Finance Secretary Kate Forbes ahead of the budget announcement.

“For example, in some cases it is virtually impossible for our members to contact local authority staff, resulting in planning requests that are effectively left in limbo as things are left adrift.

“If this does not improve quickly, housing statistics will continue to paint a grim picture that does not reflect the real need and demand for more housing that exists across Scotland.”

Homes for Scotland represents around 200 companies, which together supply the vast majority of all new homes built across the country.

Scottish Annual Planning performance statistics for 2020-2021 showed a 17-week increase in average decision times for large property developments to 54 weeks – a 40% increase from the previous year and more than three times the legal requirement of 16 weeks.

Unlike England, the Scottish government has locked all buildings, unless connected to emergency services, from March to June 2020.

The National Builders Federation has previously said there is a risk Scotland will experience a wave of older skilled workers leaving the construction industry due to the lockdown.

The Scottish government has been contacted for comment.

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