Scottish local authorities have warned of a housing shortage in communities across the country if the United Kingdom were to leave the European Union without a deal.

More than half a dozen councils in Scotland have claimed that house building targets and ongoing development could be in jeopardy if a No Deal Brexit were to go ahead.

Loss of labour from the European Union, reduction in EU funding and increases in the costs of supplies used in property development could put plans to build thousands of new homes across the country at risk.

Council bosses in West Lothian, Perth and Kinross and Edinburgh are among those who included the warning in their risk assessments ahead of the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Housing association bosses in Scotland say that many programmes are currently on hold as questions remain over future funding, asking for the Scottish Government to come forward with a long-term commitment.

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Sally Thomas, chief executive of the Scottish Federation Of Housing Associations, said: “At present, some social housing providers have put development plans on hold, because the Scottish Government is yet to commit to affordable housing investment after the current programme ends in 2021. Housing associations are reluctant to commit to further development projects beyond those already contracted.

“Housing associations have been stress-testing various Brexit scenarios to ensure they can continue to support their communities. However, with continuing ambiguity around Brexit, a long-term commitment from the Scottish Government to developing more affordable housing from 2021 would give Scotland a crucial social and economic boost and help deliver the housing that people need.”

Local authorities stressed these risks could be felt over a much longer time, with West Lothian claiming they would be monitoring the impacts of Brexit beyond an initial six-month planning period.

While there is ongoing uncertainty as to the nature of the UK’s relationship with Europe, housing experts also warned of domestic challenges which could be addressed now.

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Fionna Kell, director of policy at industry body Homes for Scotland, said: “Recent figures showed an encouraging increase in home building activity in Scotland across all sector, providing more choice across all tenures for our growing population as well as wider social and economic benefits. Whilst there are risks associated with Brexit, there are domestic challenges facing the Scottish home building industry which the Scottish Government and Local Authorities could address now to ensure build levels and investment are maintained as far as possible. It is these issues that our members are most keen to get resolved.

“At a national level, we require the hugely successful Help to Buy scheme in Scotland to be extended to 2023 in line with England to boost confidence and certainty, as well as prevent disadvantage, for both buyers and builders north of the border. Our Registered Social Landlord members also need to know about grant funding levels post-2021 so they can plan their affordable housing programmes.

“Most importantly, however, is the alignment of policy to encourage home building at a local level. This is where the real delivery barrier lies.”

Communities and local government secretary Aileen Campbell said: "A ‘no deal’ Brexit would be disastrous – but the emerging Brexit deal from Brussels is also a terrible one for Scotland, taking us out of the EU, the single market and the customs union against our will. It is a deal which sees Scotland – alone of all UK nations – treated unfairly, with our overwhelming vote to remain in the EU ignored.

“Exiting the EU was not Scotland’s choice and we have been clear that any related costs must be covered by the UK Government.

"The costs of Brexit are expected to far exceed the consequentials we have received so far from the UK Government and we should not have to cut spending on public services to fund Brexit.

“We continue to work with local government to prepare for EU exit, including through providing funding to support communities with Brexit preparations.

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“We provided an extra £1.6 million to councils for local co-ordination work on Brexit preparedness arrangements by agreeing to COSLA’s request for an additional £50,000 per council, which is everything they have requested to date.

"We have also funded two seconded officials to COSLA as a dedicated resource to support operational readiness across councils.

“As a responsible government, we recently published an overview setting out efforts being made by the Scottish Government to mitigate a damaging ‘no deal’ which includes a commitment to creating a £7 million Rapid Poverty Mitigation Fund to help councils target money at the people who need it most.”

To view how a No Deal Brexit will affect your community, visit The Herald's interactive map.