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30 July 2014
Housing commission report published

Housing commission report published

Scotland faces an “inadequate and inelastic” supply of housing according to a new report published today by the RICS Scottish Housing Commission.

The commission, which was established in October, has made a series of recommendations but stressed there is no one single solution to solving the country’s housing problems.

Chairman Tom Barclay said the commission's task was to actively listen to stakeholders, practitioners and wider experts, and, from that, look to establish a list of key recommendations which could, if implemented, “make a fundamental difference in how we tackle Scotland’s housing crisis”.

He added: “This commission concludes that whilst the main problem we confront is an inadequate and inelastic supply of housing, there is not a simple, single factor that can solve this difficulty. Development, planning, design, management, finance and taxation systems, singly and together, all shape Scotland’s housing challenges. A smarter Scottish housing system, with better outcomes, will not emerge from some fast individual measure or sector change. However, we have scoped and phrased our recommendations in order to give momentum to rethinking housing in Scotland.”

Some of the recommendations include establishing a National Housing Observatory by expanding the Scottish Government’s housing policy advisory group; elevating the post of Housing Minister to a Cabinet Secretary position; and making an effective private rental housing market one of the key pillars of the future housing system for Scotland.

The commission also made a number of recommendations for planners. The report states that the Scottish Government should shape a skills programme for planning, while the planning system should deliver at least a 100 per cent increase in effective supply of land for development by 2016.

Commissioners said the Scottish Government should establish a Scottish Land Delivery Agency which would have the key purpose of sourcing “generous, effective and regular supply of land for housing development” and supporting the delivery of serviced sites. It has also called for the reduction in VAT to five per cent on refurbishment and maintenance building works.

Barclay, who is also immediate past chairman of RICS Scotland, said: “This commission’s recommendations are not considered to be granular, but systemic in nature, and the views of the commissioners as a collective, having heard and read the ‘evidence’ gathered, and then having debated the issues arising."

He also stressed that the report does not claim to represent the policy views of RICS Scotland or its members, but instead those of the RICS Scotland Housing Commission alone.

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