But new housing supply decreases by 8% because of drop in private sector completions

Council house building is up by 94% in Scotland, according to official figures from the Scottish government.

1,383 council houses were started in the year to June 2011, compared with 713 the previous year.

Local authorities have so far received £80m from the government to help them provide an estimated 3,300 new council homes over three years.

Despite this, the overall new housing supply decreased by 8% between 2009-10 and 2010-11 because of a drop in private sector completions.

Scottish Housing and Transport Minster Keith Brown said the country’s housing system continued to face major challenges.

“The economic downturn and restricted availability of mortgage finance continues to have a negative impact on private sector house-building activity, with both starts and completions still well below their pre-credit crunch levels,” he said.

Mr Brown said local authorities were to be congratulated on the record number of council houses being built across Scotland. He pledged to support the wider housing sector, saying:

“We are also working with the housing industry and taking a range of positive action to support its recovery, including spearheading the National Housing Trust initiative, the £8m New Supply Shared Equity with developers scheme and the Innovation and Investment Fund.”

Turning to the question of homelessness, the minister outlined a government target under which all unintentionally homeless households will have the right to settled accommodation by the end of December 2012.

Figures published today reveal a 3.3% drop in the number of homelessness applications made to local authorities in Scotland during 2010-11.

However, the proportion of homeless people assessed as priority increased by 2% during that period.

Mr Brown said: “I am pleased to see that there was a reduction in homelessness applications. It is early days but the prevention of homelessness is a key aspect of the housing options approach and a reduction in applications may be a measure of this.”