Scotland politics

Housebuilder Barratt hails recruitment scheme

house building site Image copyright Getty
Image caption Housebuilders say demand for new homes in Scotland far outstrips supply

One of Scotland's leading housebuilders has said a scheme to attract former armed forces personnel to work in the industry has been very successful.

Douglas McLeod from Barratt Developments said it had been stepping up recruitment for some time, ahead of the UK's departure from the EU.

Mr McLeod said he was "not overly concerned" about Brexit, but was monitoring developments.

Barratt has announced plans to build thousands of new Scots homes this year.

The company wants to construct 3,400 houses across 16 locations, and is looking to buy more land for building.

Industry body Homes for Scotland has said 465,000 new homes are needed by 2035 to meet demand.

Mr McLeod, who is the Scottish managing director of Barratt Developments, said demand was currently far exceeding supply, adding: "I think more resources are required in local authorities to help them meet the requirements in delivering planning.

Elsewhere, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has estimated that 8% of the UK's construction workforce, or about 175,000 people are European Union nationals.

Brexit concern

Asked if post-Brexit immigration rules might have an impact on filling jobs in the industry, Mr McLeod told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "We are concerned about it, and over a considerable period of time we've been recruiting more people into the industry, continuing to take on apprentices, trainee managers to try and increase our resources.

"We've also been recruiting ex-servicemen into the industry as well, which has proved very successful and we will continue to do so

"And we will continue to work with the foreign workers as long as we possibly can - but there's no indication they will be leaving at the moment."

Who is building Scotland's new homes?

Mr McLeod added: "As far as Brexit's concerned, we are not overly concerned, and we are continuing with our plans for investment and expansion throughout Scotland.

"We will obviously closely monitor that, but we have adopted modern methods of construction to have as much components manufactured in a factory to reduce the on-site labour, and it also improves efficiency of build."

Parts of the housebuilding industry have also been under the spotlight over the taxpayer-funded Help to Buy shared equity scheme, which assists people get on the property ladder.

The scheme aided housebuilder Persimmon to profits of more than £1bn, but Mr McLeod said : "In terms of Scotland, Help to Buy, the usage is far less.

He said the Scottish scheme was limited to new build homes up to the value of £200,000 which made it a "better system", and that it had helped first time buyers and young families get on the property ladder.

The threshold for Help to Buy in England is set at £600,000 and £300,000 in Wales.

Plans to reform Scotland's planning system are currently going through parliament.

For the latest business news as it happens, follow BBC presenter Andrew Black's updates each weekday morning on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme between 0600 and 0900.