I have a home I can call my own and I’m lucky that I’ve always had a safe, secure home and have never had to experience housing insecurity or homelessness. Whilst many of my generation (GenX) have managed to get onto the housing ladder, the next generations are struggling, and I worry about the impact this is having and will increasingly have on individuals, families and communities over coming years and decades. In short, Scotland has a housing crisis. Whilst this has been long in the making, the time is now upon us to address it. We cannot wait.

Local government in Scotland is playing a leading role in recognising the growing housing crisis in Scotland and I want to applaud Argyll and Bute Council for being the first council in Scotland to declare a housing emergency and for putting in place positive steps to try and resolve the issue and I also welcome the fact that the City of Edinburgh Council, Glasgow City Council and Fife Council have all followed suit.

The shortage of good quality homes in Scotland is further evidenced by a recent report by Homes for Scotland into Scotland’s hidden housing need which found that over a quarter of all households in Scotland face one or more forms of housing need; this could be young people trying to get on the property ladder but having to live at home with their parents, people looking to downsize or quite simply those looking to find a home which is better suited to their needs.

I find this an incredibly worrying statistic and it’s becoming an all too familiar story across Scotland when I’m engaging with communities in the area’s I work in. It’s vital that politicians and in particular the Scottish Government addresses the here and now without any further delay.

Our planning system, which has been recently amended, in my view still needs fundamental reform to ensure the delivery of much-needed new homes. We have a new National Planning Framework (NPF4) which has set minimum housing numbers for councils across Scotland to achieve. These numbers are low and will deliver less housing going forward than the average 5- and 10-year historical completions.

Too few houses are being built. In Scotland, we need to adopt a multi-housing tenure strategy to ensure that we are delivering the range of housing that Scotland needs including affordable housing. The private sector working in partnership with local authorities will aid this delivery. If we are to address the here and now and meet the housing needs of Scotland we cannot afford to wait until the next round of Council Local Development Plans, most of which will not be in place until the end of this decade. What happens between now and then?

The consequence of this is already clear with major planning application submissions along with site starts significantly decreasing. These are key indicators that new homes completions will be in a sharp decline over the next 10 years which is exactly the time they need to be at an all-time high.

As a sector, we need the Scottish Government to recognise the scale of the challenge ahead and support local authorities alongside the Scottish housebuilding sector to deliver solutions to the current housing crisis.

Andrew Roberts is Strategic Land Regional Director, Taylor Wimpey Scotland

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