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SCOTTISH BUILDING INDUSTRY ADDS VOICE TO HOUSING CONCERNS

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Indifference to Scotland's housing crisis is hitting homeless families and workers alike, housing and building indu...
Indifference to Scotland's housing crisis is hitting homeless families and workers alike, housing and building industry representatives said today.

Housing expenditure cuts in 1996 will put at risk up to 12,000 jobs according to the Scottish Building Employers Federation. And the housing charity Shelter has warned of a 'homelessness timebomb' as investment plummets.

Both Shelter and the federation want to see firm evidence that political parties are taking housing seriously as they prepare their policies and campaigns for the election.

To back its case, as part of its Housing for Good campaign Shelter has issued a report which stresses the economic benefits of investing in housing. The report, Housing is Good for Jobs, shows that:

-- an adequate housing investment programme would create up to 32,000 jobs across Scotland as a whole

-- housing investment would give a huge boost to tackling poverty in the most deprived areas

-- more investment in affordable homes is vital for future economic prosperity

Shelter Scotland's director Liz Nicholson said: 'Homelessness and appalling housing conditions blight the lives of so many people in Scotland. Failure to invest now is simply creating a timebomb for the future. We must all begin to recognise the enormous social and economic benefits which good housing brings. Everyone needs housing for good.'

Sid Patten, chief executive of both the Scottish Builders Employers Federation and the Scottish House Builders Association, said: 'The construction industry is one of the most important and one of the most volatile sectors of the economy. Up to 12,000 jobs are at risk because of the cuts this year alone. A planned programme of investment is needed. This will lead to the creation of jobs in the construction industry and will increase the opportunities for training and apprenticeships.'

'We support Housing for Good as being of benefit to homeless people and to the housebuilding industry alike.'

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