Welcome to the Public Works blog.

Public Works is UNISON Scotland's campaign for jobs, services, fair taxation and the Living Wage. This blog will provide news and analysis on the delivery of public services in Scotland. We welcome comments and if you would like to contribute to this blog, please contact Dave Watson d.watson@unison.co.uk. For other information on what's happening in UNISON Scotland please visit our website.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Another fall in new house building

The Scottish Government has published the latest statistics on new house building. It doesn't make happy reading.

Historically, from a high point of about 41,000-43,000 completions a year, mainly in the public sector, the level of new build fell during the Thatcher years to under 20,000 completions per year.
There was then an upward trend which peaked in 2005 at 26,468 completions. However, this trend has since reversed and by March 2013 was 13,803, 48% below the peak in 2004-05.

The number of starts decreased by 9% in the latest year (to 31 March 2013). The latest quarter shows the number of starts decreased by 19% compared to the same quarter in 2012.
There were 1,189 new council houses started in the latest year (to 30 June 2013) and 1,010 were completed. In essence there was a decline in building new social homes, private sector homes and housing association homes at a time when demand in all three sectors has never been higher.
 
The Scottish Government blamed economic conditions and UK budget cuts. The Opposition blamed the SNP Government. No shock there then!
 
The SNP Government has cut the capital budget for housing by almost 30% since they came to power in 2007. However, they maintain they're still on track to build 30,000 affordable homes during the lifetime of this Parliament.
 
Those sitting on waiting lists will hope for marked improvement in house building soon. UNISON Scotland has set out how this might be achieved, and even more importantly, how it could be financed.

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