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Scottish construction bosses seek answers at government meeting

Scottish construction industry bosses will call for clarity on affordable housing resources from government ministers at a meeting in Inverness today.

Highland construction bosses are contrasting Highland Council’s £129 million investment in the housebuilding sector over the past four years, after the Scottish government announced plans to allocate less than £20m over the next three years.

The Scottish Building Federation is arguing the difference is a matter of “serious concern” for the local construction industry.

The SBF says the Scottish government’s announcement will contribute less than £7m annually to Highland Council’s affordable Housing budget over the next three years.

It will ask what other provisions are being made to commit further resources towards delivering affordable housing in the Highlands between now and 2015.

SBF chief executive Michael Levack said: “The Highland construction sector continues to face extremely tough trading conditions. Last week, we saw the latest local casualty as UBC Group went into administration.

“Annual rates of private sector housebuilding in the Highlands have more than halved in the past five years. The public investment we’ve seen in affordable housing in recent years has helped to sustain many local construction firms through this difficult period.”

Mr Levack said more than 11,000 names remain on housing waiting lists in the Highland Council area.

He added: “The number of building firms going bust continues to rise and the industry remains braced for further job losses in the course of 2012. In that climate, we need reassurance that the Scottish Government is doing absolutely everything it possibly can to prioritise investment in the new housing our communities, our industry and the wider Highland economy desperately need.”

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