Scotland politics

Planning bids for affordable Scottish homes drop

Construction site
Image caption The number of affordable homes applications have dropped

New statistics show the number of planning applications for affordable homes has dropped by nearly a third in a year.

About 4,767 units were given the green light in 2011/12 financial year, down by 28% in 2010/11.

Scottish Labour blamed the Scottish government's budget decisions for the drop in new affordable homes.

However, ministers defended their record saying funding was in place to deliver the five-year target of 30,000.

Responding to the Affordable Housing Securing Planning Consent Survey data, Labour's Sarah Boyack said the figures painted a "bleak picture" and called on the SNP to reverse the cuts to the housing budget.

She said: "The buck stops with the SNP government. The crisis in affordable housing is a direct result of the SNP's policies. It shouldn't come as a surprise as the SNP have repeatedly promised the earth when it comes to construction only to under deliver.

"The SNP promised 6,000 new socially rented homes in every year of this parliament - on the basis of these figures there's absolutely no chance of that happening."

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said it was clear that affordable housing was starting to feel the "harsh winds" of the recession.

He added: "Without more investment this is not good news for homeless families looking for homes or construction workers looking for jobs.

"Last week the finance secretary made an extra £40m available for investment in affordable homes this year.

"We hope that this will go some way to redress the situation and that the Scottish government is in a position to go beyond its manifesto pledge of 6,000 affordable homes per year."

Annual target

Of the 4,767 units approved, 3,043 will be entirely publicly funded and the remaining, 1,724 units, will include some form of contribution by a private developer.

The area with the largest number of affordable housing consents for 2011/12 was Edinburgh at 1,420 units.

That was followed by Glasgow with 626 and then North Lanarkshire with 237.

A Scottish government spokesman explained that the completed number of affordable homes stood at 6,882 in 2011-12, well above the 6,000 annual target.

He added: "Last week's budget delivered a further £40m for affordable housing that will see the Scottish government invest at least £760m over the next three-years. This will help ensure we meet our target of 30,000 affordable homes during this parliamentary term".

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