Scottish Government Housing Minister Paul McLennan has blamed Brexit after the number of new homes built in Scotland fell by 11%.

He said labour shortages linked to the UK's exit from the EU, along with inflation and supply chain issues had "created a challenging environment."

Labour said the SNP has been "posted missing" in the middle of a housing crisis. 

READ MORE: Scottish Government affordable housing target an 'impossible dream'

The latest figures reveal that there were 20,992 new homes completed in the 2023 calendar year, down from 23,693 the year before.

There was an even bigger drop in the number of houses started, at 16,017, down from 21,026 in 2022, a drop of 24%.

Of those, 12,752 were private sector builds, the lowest level since 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic impacted housebuilding.

Another 2,073 were housing associations, the lowest number since 1988.

The remaining 1,192 homes were local authority starts, the lowest number since 2013.

Meanwhile, affordable housing approvals and starts have also hit a ten-year low with a 5% decrease reported in the number of affordable housing supply approvals and completions, and a 20% drop in starts.

News of the drop comes after Deputy First Minister Shona Robison announced a £196m cut the Affordable Housing Supply Programme in her budget, a real-terms drop of 27%.

In their first Programme for Government following the 2021 election, the SNP-Green administration promised 110,000 affordable homes would be delivered across the country by 2032, with at least 70% of these in the social rented sector.

The target is now set to be reviewed this year "with a focus on the delivery timeline."

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Scottish Labour Housing spokesperson Mark Griffin said: “Scotland is in the grips of a housing emergency, from record homelessness to exorbitant rents to soaring house prices – but the SNP-Green government is posted missing.

“The SNP-Green government is not only failing to act, but it is actively fanning the flames of the housing emergency with brutal budget cuts. “Scots cannot keep paying the price for the mistakes of this out-of-touch and incompetent government.

“The SNP and the Greens need to admit there is a housing emergency and take urgent action to address it – from reforming planning to boost housebuilding to ditching their damaging cuts.”

Scottish Conservative shadow housing secretary, Miles Briggs said: “These shocking figures highlight the SNP’s abysmal record on housing. Scotland is facing a housing crisis and still the SNP can’t even meet their own housebuilding targets.

“Four councils have now declared housing emergencies, yet the SNP are still refusing to admit the severity of the housing shortage.

“Housebuilding is falling sharply – and things will get even worse with Shona Robison’s disastrous tax-and-axe budget which slashed almost £200million from the housing budget.

“With too many people languishing in temporary accommodation – including children and people with disabilities – and homelessness levels soaring, the SNP’s failure to get a grip on this growing crisis is simply unacceptable.

“That’s why we launched our plans to bring empty properties across Scotland back into use and deliver permanent homes. Only the Scottish Conservatives are focused on Scotland’s real priorities and have a plan to tackle this crisis.”

READ MORE: Scottish Budget: £200m cut to housing condemned amid homeless crisis

Mr McLennan said Scotland was still performing better than the other nations in the UK.

He said: “Scotland has delivered more than 128,000 affordable homes since April 2007, over 70% of which were for social rent, in turn helping to create strong, sustainable communities.

“In the year 2022-2023, Scotland delivered by far the most affordable homes per head of the population of any country in the UK – 69% higher than the rate in England, building on our track record of doing more than any other part of the UK to provide and keep social homes.

“There’s no doubt that inflation, supply chain issues and labour shortages linked to Brexit have created a challenging environment which is reflected in today’s statistics.

"We will continue to work with local authorities, housing associations to increase the delivery of more affordable homes, the majority of which will be for social rent, including supporting acquisitions of existing properties.

"Despite UK Government cuts to the capital budget, the Scottish Government also continues to invest heavily to support housing supply.”