Entrepreneur Lord Haughey halts affordable homes plan amid rise in materials and rent freeze bill

Lord Willie Haughey has put plans to build 11,000 houses in Scotland on hold for the time being

Lord Willie Haughey has put plans to build 11,000 houses in Scotland on hold for the time being

LORD Willie Haughey has announced his ambitious plans to spend more than £1billion to build 11,000 affordable homes in Scotland are on hold as part of efforts to tackle shortages and transform the housing market.

Speaking to Hunter & Haughey on the Go Radio Business Show yesterday, Lord Haughey shocked fellow entrepreneur and co-host Sir Tom Hunter when he said two things prompted his decision: the rising cost of Bricks and Green MSP Patrick Harvie rent freeze bill.

Holyrood on Thursday passed controversial legislation freezing rents and banning evictions for most tenants for at least six months and possibly 18 after MSPs voted 89-27 in favor of the Scotland Bill on the Cost of Living (tenant protection) after three intense days the debate and amendments.

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Minister for Zero-Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights Patrick Harvie’s bill was the first to be put through a Parliament by a Green Minister anywhere in the UK.

Lord Haughey, who unveiled his housing project last year after agreeing to sell a 24 per cent stake in his family business City Facilities Management Holdings to Scottish property group Ediston for £640million, told the show: “I’m over who plan to build 11,000 houses in the next 10 years – houses to be proud of.

“I was trying to build communities and I wanted to build 1,200 sqft homes that people would rent for around £695 a month including maintenance bills to help people keep their energy bills down.”

The Glasgow-based entrepreneur and Labor peer told the Go Radio Business show last year that he spent months visiting housing developments around the world, including in Toronto, Philadelphia and Vienna, to seek inspiration for his own ambitious project Looking for.

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Yesterday he admitted he was considering taking on debt “for the first time” to speed up the project.

“But two things happened,” he said, alluding to a statement from his brick supplier that costs had increased by 28 percent. “Add to that Patrick Harvie’s bill on the rent freeze and I’ll put things on hold.

“There is no incentive to change anything.”

Although Sir Tom suggested Lord Haughey “would find a way out,” the high-profile businessman said: “Patrick Harvie’s rent freeze is a big part of my decision. The housing market is in an absolute crisis and without plans on how to deal with it, this crisis can only get worse.”

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Sir Tom, who described Lord Haughey’s news as a “blow”, added: “Scotland needs to build this house. That would have created jobs.”

In a scathing critique of the MSP, Lord Haughey said: “Patrick Harvie will go down in history as the man who halted investment and contributed 100 per cent to the catastrophic housing shortage we have in Scotland.

“Don’t take my word for it – the house clubs are calling for it to be scrapped.

“And Patrick Harvie stands up in the Scottish Parliament and raves about heat pumps like he’s reading a brochure from a heat pump company.”

Lord Haughey had previously told Scottish ministers to reject the UK government’s “nonsensical” policy of replacing old gas boilers with air source heat pumps and find a better, greener solution.

“I’m calling Patrick Harvie and asking him to come on the show to debate the rent freeze and heat pumps,” he said.

“None of this is good for Scotland.”

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