The Scottish housing minister has said Scotland is ‘unlikely’ to meet its target of building 50,000 affordable homes by 2021 because of the current coronavirus pandemic.
In a message posted on his Twitter account, Kevin Stewart said while both he, and colleagues have put their ‘hearts and souls’ into delivering more affordable homes, the current pandemic ‘makes it unlikely that we will reach that target’.
‘For now, our priority has to be to ensure the health and wellbeing of all our people,’ said Mr Stewart.
The Scottish Government had originally set a target of build 50,000 affordable homes, including 35,000 for social rent by 2021.
Last month, Holyrood published official figures which showed a total of 2,428 affordable homes were completed between September and December 2019, bringing the total for 2019 to 9,317, up 1% (61 homes) on the 9,256 completions in the previous year.
We were on track to deliver @scotgov’s ambitious 50k affordable homes target, but the Covid19 pandemic now makes this unlikely. Thanks to all who have helped in our endeavours & I know that we’ll all rise to the challenge after the current emergency ends. #MoreHomesScotland🏡🏴 pic.twitter.com/WjFElUpYPO
— Kevin Stewart MSP (@KevinStewartSNP) April 3, 2020
‘I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved in helping deliver our ambitious affordable housing programme – government civil servants, local authorities, housing associations, the construction industry and many many others who have worked very very hard to achieve what we have done thus far,’ added Mr Stewart.
‘I know that you will rise to the challenge after the pandemic is over and that we will do everything possible to deliver as many affordable homes as we can, but for now stay home, protect our NHS, stay safe and get ready to come back to work in the future to deliver our ambitious housing programme for Scotland.’
Responding the minister’s comments, the chief executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), Sally Thomas said: ‘Before the coronavirus outbreak, it looked likely that the Scottish Government would meet its target of delivering 50,000 affordable homes by 2021. However, development has been paused by the government – and SFHA supports this as people’s health and safety must come first.
‘Our members have worked hard to help the Scottish Government to meet its affordable homes target, and they will do so again once it is safe to re-start construction.’
Photo Credit – Barrypit (Pixabay)
Senior reporter – NewStart