Edinburgh housing crisis: SNP's promises on affordable homes just do not stack up – John McLellan

Denial is the polite word for SNP claims about progress of its promise to build 20,000 new affordable homes by 2027.

Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 4:45 pm
The SNP's housebuilding plans for Edinburgh are not on track, as claimed, says John McLellan (Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)
The SNP's housebuilding plans for Edinburgh are not on track, as claimed, says John McLellan (Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)

The Strategic Housing Investment Plan (Ship), approved in November and hugely optimistic, said by April 5,790 homes would be completed, over 4,000 short of the ‘10,000 in five years’ target. It predicted a further 10,124 homes would be completed by the 2027 deadline, still 5,000 shy of the target.

The report claimed the programme was on track and by any stretch of the imagination a 25 per cent shortfall is a funny kind of track to be on.

And affordable housing needs grants, but the Ship identified a shortfall of £102m in grant funding on current assumptions, rising to £330m if the new targets were to be met.

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The November report also warned that, “One of the key risks to the delivery of 20,000 affordable is failure to secure suitable land for development.”

Sure enough, in January another report said there was “enough land free of planning constraints and available for development for 22,411 houses”, so to meet the target would require around 70 per cent of the land to be reserved for affordable housing, which is double the 35 per cent the council wants developers to meet.

But what did housing committee convener Kate Campbell say this week? “We’ve got the land, we’ve got the sites, we’ve got the funding in place, so we’re confident we will catch up.”

In your dreams, Kate. Certainly not in your department’s reports.

John McLellan is standing down as a Conservative councillor