"Tomorrow awaits: Make it Yours" is the theme for this year's New Homes Week; an annual celebration of the benefits of new build homes. But what if, as the song says, tomorrow never comes?

That is a future facing many people in Scotland as the number of new home completions of all tenures in Scotland has dropped by 6% and new home starts reduced by 24%. Correspondingly, housing need continues to rise, as evidenced by the recent declarations of housing emergencies in three local authority areas. The recent Homes for Scotland report on housing need estimates that 693,000 households in Scotland are in need.

Published in 2021, Housing to 2040 is the Scottish Government's blueprint for ensuring that everyone has a safe, good quality and affordable home that meets their needs in the place they want to be by that date. Recognising, perhaps, that some things can't wait until tomorrow, the Scottish Parliament's Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee is currently conducting a short inquiry into the housing emergency and the effectiveness of Housing to 2040 in meeting housing needs.

In the first roundtable session on 20 February, representatives of the Strategy Board for Housing to 2040 were united in their ongoing support for the vision set out in the strategy paper, but equally united in their concerns about its delivery. They all highlighted the need to increase the supply of housing quickly as homelessness is forecast to rise by 33% in the next 2 years. Worryingly there was a suggestion that up to 15 local authorities are on a trajectory towards declaring a housing emergency.

The session identified the planning system as a blocker, along with increasing regulatory requirements and difficulties in meeting net-zero targets and improved place-making standards as budgets and grant funding are cut. It also questioned how can we build more homes of higher standards with less money? With the Scottish Government's target of building 110,000 affordable homes by 2032 under threat, it asked if it is time to recognise that it can't all be done at the same time and the focus needs to be on supply rather than sustainability and standards in the short term? That may seem like asking a parent to choose their favourite child, but it is time for a grown-up conversation about Scotland's social and economic priorities.

At its meeting on 27 February, the LGHP Committee will continue to explore issues with key stakeholders around the Housing to 2040 strategy and the regulations made under the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act 2022.

Some things can’t be put off until tomorrow. Working within the long-term vision of Housing to 2040, it is hoped that the Committee recommends actions to be taken today to increase the supply of new build homes and attract the investment which is needed to deliver more housing across all tenures in Scotland.