Scottish Liberal Democrat and Shetland MSP, Beatrice Wishart, questioned the Cabinet Secretary for Housing on whether the Scottish Government’s housing plans were ambitious enough during a session of portfolio questions. Highlighting Shetland’s perfect storm of building material shortages, a heated housing market and a lack of affordable homes and social housing, which Ms Wishart said was mirrored across Scotland.
Reports of building material shortages have troubled the construction industry throughout 2021. The housing market has also seen an upsurge after the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions with some properties selling at prices significantly above valuation.
This follows a previous portfolio question session earlier this month where Ms Wishart raised isles housing shortages with the Cabinet Secretary. Ms Wishart tied the lack of housing with the issue of depopulation and negative impact on young people hoping to live in the isles.
Ms Wishart commented after the session:
“The lofty numbers the Scottish Government bandy around about house building will mean nothing until waiting lists go down and more people are able to live in suitable, secure housing.
“Half a million homes were sold under Right to Buy in Scotland. From what the Cabinet Secretary has told me, the Scottish Government has no plans to build enough homes to restore half.
“We know young people are disproportionately affected by housing shortages.
“I do not want to see any more young people driven away from their home islands due to a lack of housing.”
Notes to Editors
Ms Wishart’s question to the Cabinet Secretary (please check against delivery):
Initial question: To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to mitigate housing shortages and rising housing costs.
Follow up question: Shetland is facing the perfect storm of building material increases and shortages along with being at the end of the supply chain, and a heated housing market along with the lack of affordable homes and social housing. I know this is mirrored across different parts of Scotland and it impacts particularly on young people. Is the Scottish Government’s house building programme ambitious enough to meet the demands of Scotland’s current and future housing needs?
Between the years 1979-80 and 2014-15 a total of 494,580 council and housing association homes were sold under Right to Buy in Scotland. Scottish Government site.