SFT eyes housing

The Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) has highlighted housing a key part of economic infrastructure and has urged the public and private sectors to do more to deliver new homes across the country.

Describing itself as a “pioneer” of affordable housing, the agency said it is delivering further partnerships to boost housing investment to over £650m. It also pointed to the low cost of public borrowing as providing an opportunity to “do much more”.

“Increasing housing supply is a vital element of helping an economy grow and to keep house prices and rents at stable levels,” said chief executive Barry White, adding that “there’s never been a better time to build.

“Having already worked very closely with local authorities on housing to secure £400m of housing investment, there is now a great opportunity to increase that partnership to build more homes, of all tenures across the country.”

White spoke as the SFT published its annual business review for 2016-17, which calculated savings delivered by the agency over the year to be £138m. He added that the agency has now delivered over £1bn of savings since becoming operational in 2009.

Among the highlights of 2016/17, the business review pointed to over 100 buildings now being open under the Hub model, while over £50m was generated from the sale of surplus public properties. It also said the Growth Accelerator model had unlocked £850m of additional economic investment into Edinburgh.

It was revealed in September that White is to leave the SFT to become chief executive at Transport for the North.