A boss at one of Scotland's largest builders has warned the Highlands' recovery from recession has been hit by fears over public sector cuts.
David Sutherland, of Inverness-based Tulloch Homes, said the north should be "selfish" and try to protect progress made so far.
He said uncertainty over UK and Scottish government cutbacks had harmed confidence in the housing market.
Recovery was starting before the UK general election, he said.
Tulloch Homes is constructing properties in developments across the Highlands, Grampian and also East Kilbride, Glenrothes, Hamilton and Tranent.
The company is also showcasing properties it has built to architects' designs at Scotland's Housing Expo in Inverness.
An exhibition of homes for the future, the expo was delayed for a year because of the economic downturn.
Mr Sutherland said the start of the recovery from the downturn and subsequent recession was at risk.
He said: "We will all want Britain Plc to be good economically, but we have got to be selfish for a while and look at what is going to happen in the Highlands."
The businessman said he was anxious about "good work" done to encourage "green shoots" of recovery in the housing market prior to the general election.
He said it had been threatened by UK government plans to cut public services and spending.
Mr Sutherland said: "If you announce a big cut in public services and say you are thinking about it but we will come back to you in October-November, well, people will be put off buying because they are worried about their jobs."
The public sector is one of the biggest employers in Inverness and the wider Highlands region.