From 3 April 2020 to present: Copies of any internal correspondence (emails, text messages, WhatsApp messages, minutes of calls, hand-written notes, briefings and/or otherwise) between Kevin Stewart and civil servants and/or Special Advisors regarding restarting the 50,000 affordable homes target that was paused by Kevin Stewart on 3 April 2020.
I enclose a copy of all of the information you requested. Some names have been redacted as exemption under Section 38(1)(b) of the FOI (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) applies. Other information was redacted as it was out with the scope of your enquiry. Four power point slides have been provided. These are extracts from larger presentations which have been withheld because they are also out with the scope of the request. One of the slides was used in three separate presentations.
On Tuesday 24 March 2020, the First Minister announced that the Scottish Government would expect construction sites in Scotland to close, unless the building being worked on was essential.
On 3 April 2020, Kevin Stewart, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning confirmed by way of a response to a Parliamentary Question from James Dornan MSP, that ‘with the impact of the effective lock down there is clearly going to be a necessary pause in the delivery of affordable homes at what is a critical time in the target period’. This information was subsequently tweeted on the same day by the Minister.
Formal guidance published on the Scottish Government website from 6 April onwards, was clear that housing, including affordable housing, was considered to be non-essential work.
The impact of the lock down caused a necessary pause in the construction industry, which as a consequence will extend the time it will take to deliver these affordable homes.
Housing is following the construction sector’s re-start model. Guidance for the construction sector has been published on the Scottish Government website and updated as progress is made through the agreed phased approach re-start model. The most recently published guidance has allowed the construction sector to move to phase 4 of this agreed Route Map from 15 July.
The Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning worked with Construction sector partners and trade unions to put in place this phased approach to a return to construction, which allowed the sector to restart safely.
It has been important to restart slowly and carefully and the health and wellbeing of individuals continues to be the Scottish Government’s priority. The remaining phase will see the industry increase density and productivity.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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