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Housing

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 4th December 2013.

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Photo of Margaret Burgess Margaret Burgess Scottish National Party

No. I am not giving way any more. I have been constantly told that I have not come to the chamber to speak about housing, so I will do that now.

Over the four years to March 2016, the planned investment in affordable housing will exceed £1.35 billion. Every new-build affordable home that we help to fund means more jobs in our construction industry, but it is, of course, also vital that we support a recovery in the market sector. Yesterday’s housing statistics underlined the continuing impact on our house-building industry of challenging global economic conditions and the Westminster cuts to our capital budget. The Opposition parties that are represented in the chamber cannot deny responsibility for part of the global recession.

Despite these difficult times, Scotland’s rate of new house building per head of population continues to outperform that of the rest of the UK. That is a fact. Recently published National House Building Council statistics on new home registrations to the end of September 2013 show encouraging signs of increasing activity and recovery.

A central plank of our support for house building is our £220 million help to buy Scotland shared equity scheme. I am pleased to see the industry’s positive reaction to that scheme. To date, 95 house builders have registered, and more applications are coming in. That list includes major public limited companies as well as small family firms that may want to build only a few, but vitally needed, homes.