The SNP’s strategy for affordable housing runs the risk of missing an important goal

The Scottish Labor Party has raised concerns after an internal government document revealed there is a high risk of missing the target of building 110,000 affordable homes by 2032.

The risk register report, obtained under the Labor Party’s freedom of information framework, indicates the speed of approvals for new homes is slowing.

It states that if “social housing permits and starts do not advance in time to allow for completion by March 2032,” it “could result in the target of delivering 70% of social housing not being met.”

Read more: Affordable housing permits in Scotland drop by 50 per cent

The document warns that insufficient funding could pose a threat to the targets – yet the 2023/24 budget saw nearly £200m cut for housing, cutting funding by more than a quarter.

It states that “insufficient capital available in the current parliament could result in a slowdown in delivery”, adding that “this could jeopardize the realistic prospect of delivering 110,000 affordable housing units by 2032”.

The document, produced in February, also said there had been an increase in tender prices that could hamper the 2032 target.

That commitment to build 110,000 affordable homes was made in Government Program 2021, the first legislative agenda of the SNP Green government.

In the risk register report, the problems with permits and tender prices are given a risk rating of “red” out of 100 – this means that the risks are very high and there is a need for action to reduce the risk.

Read more: Scotland’s council housing crisis: ‘Critical’ shortage

The risk of insufficient capital is rated as “Orange” out of 75.

Scottish Labor housing spokesman Mark Griffin said all 16 risks identified were higher than their targets.

He said: “Scotland is mired in a growing housing crisis but our affordable housing scheme is in chaos.

“It is clear that Shona Robison has ignored a number of warnings and left a trail of destruction in her wake.

“The issues are spiraling out of control, raising doubts about key campaign promises made by the SNP to build more affordable housing.”

“There is far too much at stake for this plan to join the SNP’s long list of broken promises and abandoned plans.”

In March, it emerged that the number of affordable housing approved in 2022 was at its lowest since 2013.

Data from quarterly statistics on housing construction and the supply of affordable housing, released by Scotland’s chief statistician, showed that the number of affordable houses that started construction in financial year 2022/2023 fell to 6,987, compared to 8,227 in 2021/2022 and 12,039 in 2019/2020.

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