The annual number of affordable homes approved and started in Scotland has increased despite restrictions introduced because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the latest figures.
Quarterly housing statistics for April to June 2020 indicate in the 12 months to June, 12,276 affordable homes were approved – an increase of 1,436 homes (13%) on 2019.
In the same period, 10,701 homes were started, an increase of 186 (2%) on the previous year.
Lockdown restrictions introduced in mid-March to stem the spread of Covid-19 included the closure of non-essential infrastructure building sites.
Earlier this year, housing minister Kevin Stewart admitted the Scottish Government’s pledge to build 50,000 affordable homes by the next election was unlikely to be met.
He echoed those sentiments as the latest figures were announced on Tuesday, saying: “There is no doubt that Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the construction sector.
“The lockdown meant nearly a third of the year saw little to no activity able to take place and a necessary pause in the delivery of affordable homes – but we remain committed to delivering the homes that Scotland needs.
“Our focus now is to get on with the job, and to do it safely.
“Backed by a commitment of more than £3.5 billion, we are delivering more good quality, secure and affordable homes, which will in turn help create strong, sustainable communities.
“We were on track to deliver on our commitment to meet the 50,000 affordable homes target by the end of March 2021 but, due to the impact of the pandemic, it is now unlikely we will do so – but we will continue to work with partners across the housing sector to ensure the delivery of the remainder of these homes, as quickly as it is safe.”