Scotland’s Finance Secretary Derek Mackay announced a number of key interventions in the Scottish Budget which the housebuilding industry believe will accelerate the delivery of new homes north of the border.
He announced that the government would contribute £756 million towards investment of more than £3 billion by 2021 to deliver 50,000 affordable homes. He also unveiled a new £150 million Building Scotland Fund to unlock new house building, develop new low carbon commercial property and support research and development.
The importance attached to investment in housing in has been welcomed by the country’s home builders.
Nicola Barclay, Chief Executive of industry body Homes for Scotland, said, “With home building in Scotland supporting over 60,000 jobs and contributing billions each year to the economy, we are pleased to see the Scottish Government confirming its ambition for the housing of all types our country needs.
“As well as a significant funding increase for affordable housing, the additional funding for skills bodies, colleges and universities that will help to plug the skills gap, is also welcome.
“The Land and Buildings Transaction Tax relief for First Time Buyers up to the first £175,000 of the purchase price could be a valuable boost for those aspiring to get on the property ladder, representing additional money towards their deposit or moving costs.
However, given that this is not due to become effective until 2018/19, we are concerned that any delay may have a potential impact on purchasing decisions in the short term.
“Of particular note, however, is the establishment of the new £150m Building Scotland Fund which will have a prominent housing and infrastructure focus to support interventions that will further accelerate and scale up housing delivery. With the funding and delivery of infrastructure a major housing blocker, we keenly await further details in the new year.”