New figures published this week show that 30,400 affordable homes have been completed in Scotland over the last five years – 400 more than the SNP Government promised to deliver by the end of this Parliament and five months ahead of schedule. In England by contrast the number of homes built for social rent fell by 9,590 in the last year to the lowest level since 1991-92. Commenting, Local MSP Kenneth Gibson said:
“When it comes to housing the SNP and Tory governments are streets apart. Not only have we delivered on our ambitious target in financially challenging times; if re-elected, the SNP Government will go further and build 50,000 new affordable homes over the next five years, an investment of £3.5 billion in our communities that will create and sustain local growth and jobs. In contrast, the UK Government has made no commitment to social housing and their definition of affordable is so wide you would need to earn £109,000 a year to rent what they regard as an ‘affordable’ three-bed home!
“Of course, the SNP Government is also working hard to stimulate a private housing market crippled by the economic mismanagement of the last Labour UK government that led to the crash from which we are only now emerging.
“Devolved only in April of this year, the SNP made housing stamp duty much fairer, replacing it with a fairer Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) and then completely abolishing the tax on all purchases of less than £145,000. We also cut to 2% the tax on the price paid between £145,001 and £250,000. Thus, a tax of £7,500 on a £250,000 home before April is now only £2,200! “The impact on residential mortgage lending in Scotland in the quarter to 30 June 2015 after LBTT was introduced has been dramatic, with 16,700 loans for house purchases granted with a total value of £2,130 million. This represented a 39.2% increase in the number of loans and 27.5% in value on the first quarter of 2015. Within these figures there were 8,000 first time buyer loans, an increase of 50.9% as the market responded positively. Construction is also up 21%, creating and sustaining jobs as demand for housing increases.
“In housing as in other devolved areas, the SNP Government is delivering progressive policies that will build a fairer and more prosperous Scotland.”