You asked for information about the Self Build Loan Fund (“the Fund”), in particular:-
“Can you tell me
- how much of the above fund has been fully committed to date?
- how may individual loan offers have been made by the Scottish Government, to date?
- how much of the fund remains as uncommitted, to date?
- ow many self build funding applications have been made to date, and by how many individual applicants?
- how many self build houses have been fully completed to date?
- how many self build houses were forecast to be built using the fund, when it was launched?
- has that original forecast been amended, and if so, when, and by how much?”.
As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA. This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’.
Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.
Response to your request
The answer to most of your questions are set out below. As a preliminary, it may also be helpful to set out some background to the Fund.
The Fund offers short-term loan funding of up to £175,000 to self-builders who are unable to access standard bank lending, to assist with development costs to support build completion. The loan funding is recyclable meaning that repaid loans can be re-used to fund more self-build projects during the life of the Fund. The Fund is administered by the Communities Housing Trust on behalf of Scottish Ministers.
The Fund was established in September 2018 following the success of a pilot which covered Highland Council area. Initially, £4 million of funding was available to August 2021, with an additional £2 million in funding available and the Fund extended to August 2022. The Fund was then extended for up to 5 years from November 2022 with a further £6m recyclable loan funding available.
Unless otherwise stated, the information provided is to end July 2023 and refers to the period from September 2018 when the national Fund was established.
1. How much of the above fund has been fully committed to date?
A total of £7,044,567 has been committed since September 2018. This comprises £6,371,600 relating to the Fund from September 2018 to end August 2022, and £672,987 from November 2022.
2. How may individual loan offers have been made by the Scottish Government, to date?
A total of 47 loan offers have been made.
3. How much of the fund remains uncommitted to date?
From November 2022, when the Fund was extended for up to five years and a further £6m funding made available, a total of £5,327,033 remains uncommitted.
4. How many self build funding applications have been made to date, and by how many individual applicants?
A total of 94 applications have been made. This includes 2 applications made by the same applicants (the first was withdrawn). Applications may be made by individuals or jointly by, for example, couples. The application is a two stage process. Stage 1 considers the applicant's financial circumstances and ability to proceed and Stage 2 involves consideration of the applicant's construction approach and the viability of the project. More information is available at https://www.chtrust.co.uk/scotland-self-build-loanfund.html.
5. How many self build houses have been fully completed to date?
A total of 25 houses have been fully completed (completion certificates have been issued).
6. How many self build houses were forecast to be built using the fund, when it was launched?; and 7. Has that original forecast been amended, and if so, when, and by how much?
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide information about how many self build houses were forecast to be built using the fund, when it was launched and consequently whether that that original forecast been amended, and if so, when, and by how much, as we do not have this information. Therefore we are refusing your request for this information under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs.
The Fund is demand led, and it was not possible to accurately forecast the number of houses which would be built. It was, however, established following a successful pilot in Highland Council in 2016 with 14 homes completed from 2016 to 2018 and all loans repaid.
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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