Lord Willie Haughey and Sir Tom Hunter have expressed their deep concerns that politicians in Scotland are not seeking the best business solutions to solve the housing crisis, while welcoming signals from Labour of a potential resurgence in housebuilding UK-wide.

Their comments on the Go Radio Business Show with Hunter and Haughey come after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he would “bulldoze” restrictive planning rules and overrule local MPs in order to build 1.5 million more homes, if elected.

Lord Haughey said: “When you hear what was said at the Labour Party conference, if they follow through on some of those items, I think businesses will be very, very happy. 

“I know a few housebuilders who already have said: ‘Look, this is fantastic news, if you can deliver on it.

“It was interesting not only Sir Keir but a few members of the Shadow Cabinet said housing is absolutely paramount and that we have to make a difference.” 

However, Lord Haughey also pointed to policy failures closer to home.

“A recent TV programme about the rent cap showed young people in Edinburgh – and in other places but mostly Edinburgh – whose landlords just put their rent up and thought: ‘What’s the problem?’ The people there didn’t know where they were going to go the next day. 

“We have to do something to make sure landlords cannot do this to people on a whim. Obviously, there seems to be a rent cap loophole that, if it’s a new lease for just one of the tenants in a multi-use flat, they can change the rules for all. To tell three young people their rent is going from £550 a month to £750 is diabolical. 

“What we should be trying to do – what I’m trying to do – is build quality homes for affordable prices.

“I wish I had a magic wand and could deliver 50,000 new homes tomorrow because there’s no doubt the housing dilemma we have must be faced up to. It’s a number one priority.”

Sir Tom pointed to similar problems with the Scottish Government’s legislation for short-term lets, which requires operators to apply for a licence by October 1. 

He commented: “We have to go back to first principles. What problem are we trying to solve here? To me this is quite easy to articulate: we don’t have enough supply either in the housing market or the letting market. 

“I think we can all agree with that. Next we have to ask how we are going to solve this. You’re not going to solve it with rent caps or with these short-term licences, which really put off people putting their properties on the market to lease. 

“All the demand is hugely outstripping the supply. We must have joined-up thinking. We have to encourage the investors to build more supply.

“The only way to solve the housing issue in Scotland and indeed the UK as a whole is to build more supply. That’s the key.”

Lord Haughey agreed and hoped politicians were looking at the statistics from the Scottish Government that showed only 20% of 32,000 properties listed for short-term lets have applied for their licence.”

“That means either 27,000 are now not going to be available or have decided they’re going to go rogue.”

He added: “There’s no doubt that, once again, politics is getting in the way of business. We’re not saying things don’t have to be changed. I was horrified watching that TV programme. But we have to find a real solution. 

“There are so many investors, so many developers now, simply not interested in doing anything in Scotland because of all of these problems. That’s a shame. We’re never going to fix the housing problem, if we’re not all welcoming legislation that does not get in the way of running a business.”