The Scottish Government has been accused of presiding over the "absolute freefall" of affordable housing as the number of new homes built by housing associations fell to its lowest level since 1988.

Figures released on Tuesday revealed that 20,992 new homes were completed in 2023, with just 2,073 by housing associations.

That's the lowest number in more than 30 years, with the overall number of new homes built falling by 11%.

Scottish Government housing minister Paul McLennan blamed Brexit, as well as supply chain issues and inflation.

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Four local councils in Scotland have already declared a housing emergency - Glasgow, Edinburgh, Argyll & Bute and, last week, Fife - amid what is being described by campaigners as a nationwide crisis.

In its latest budget Holyrood cut £196m from the affordable housing budget, a reduction of 26%.

Sally Thomas, Chief Executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) said: “Scotland desperately needs the homes that housing associations provide: they are safe, warm and affordable homes for rent.

"Today’s figures show that the number of these homes being delivered are in absolute freefall.  And this is before the Scottish Government’s devastating £196 million cut to affordable housing has even taken effect.

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“We know that government is keen to attract more private investment, but we’re concerned that this isn’t a solution. Social homes need government investment if we’re not to burden housing associations with debt which will force up rents.

“The Scottish Government has a target to deliver 110,000 homes by 2032 - the hopes of achieving that are now all but over. We need them to restore the much-needed funding and urgently work to forge a credible path out of our national housing emergency.”

The Scottish Government has pointed to Westminster failing to "inflation-proof" its capital budget, which it said has delivered close to a 10% cut to the UK capital funding available between 2023-24 and 2027-28.

Holyrood has also previously said that its financial transactions budget, which is money from the UK treasury which can be loaned or invested in private equity and must ultimately be repaid, has been cut by 62%.

Mr McLennan 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.”