The 2019/20 Scottish Budget was presented by finance secretary Derek Mackay. “It provides an increase of almost £730 million for our health and care services, invests more than £180 million to raise attainment in our schools and gives a vital boost to our economy through a £5 billion infrastructure programme,” he said.
The budget allocates more than £825m - as part of a total investment of more than £3bn - to deliver 50,000 affordable homes over the course of the parliament.
It also makes provision for initial funding of £130m towards the establishment of a Scottish National Investment Bank.
The budget statement includes positive measures that will help Scottish builders deliver the homes that are needed, said the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Scotland.
Gordon Nelson, director of FMB Scotland, said: “Today’s Budget comes hot on the heels of the latest Quarterly Housing Statistics for Scotland, published yesterday, that revealed a four per cent increase in the number of new build homes in Scotland over the year ending June 2018, compared with 2017. Although a step in the right direction, this constitutes just 695 additional homes and such an increase will not solve the housing crisis. We’re therefore pleased that the finance secretary has recommitted the government to establishing a Scottish National Investment Bank as this will help provide finance to the small building firms. A further £50 million to support lending to the house building sector has been announced through the Building Scotland Fund and this is also welcome. Many small-scale house builders are experiencing real difficulty in accessing the finance they need to build homes, with fees, overdraft limitations and meagre loans posing a significant barrier to house building. This new funding will help to speed up the delivery of homes and lead to a more diverse and resilient housing supply.”
He also welcomed the announcement of a £50m capital fund for investment in high streets. “There is a dire need to re-invest in Scotland’s floundering town centres in light of changing patterns of retail and leisure,” he said. “The government should therefore be commended for its ambition to safeguard the vitality of our high streets. All in all, this was a good budget for Scottish builders.”