Rather than leaving housing to industry, we must intervene

Andy Wightman MSP, Housing spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, used today's Holyrood debate on housing to urge Scottish Ministers to stop developers inflating the cost of land.

The Green amendment for today's debate - not selected by the Presiding Officer - highlighted the fact that land values rise when infrastructure is built or planning permission is given, and by capturing this value, more and better homes can be built.

Andy Wightman MSP said:

"All houses should be affordable but they are not. Average prices are now double what they were in 2003, have risen at twice the rate of inflation and outstripped average earnings by even more.

"To date the Scottish Government has argued that it does not set targets for overall housing supply, as it relies on developers. Government targets on housing land supply since 2007 have not been met, due to this failed model.

"Rather than leaving something so fundamental as housing to be dominated by the speculative volume house-building industry, we must intervene. 

"Look at Germany, where land with planning permission has its value capped so more money is available to improve the quality of the housing, so it is cheaper to run and lasts longer. Scotland used to do this until 1959 and we need to revisit the idea. 

"Greens will keep up the pressure to bring about a transformation in housing policy and end Scotland's housing crisis."