Scottish construction down 14pc

However the Scottish government said it still remains on track to deliver on its promise to build 30,000 new affordable homes by 2016 with 16,000 being built since 2011.

Private sector starts to the end of June were 11% lower than last year but social sector starts were up 2% year-on-year by the end of September.

Housing minister Margaret Burgess said: "Today’s statistics show we are on track to delivering our commitment of 30,000 affordable homes during the lifetime of this parliament.

“However, they also underline the continued negative impact that challenging global economic conditions and Westminster’s cuts to our capital budget have had on house building activity in Scotland.

“For this government housing is and will remain a priority. We have boosted our budgets for new affordable homes considerably and in the three-year period between April 2012 to March 2015 plan to invest £970m in affordable housing.

“This will increase the supply of affordable homes and deliver vital support for construction and house building companies throughout Scotland."

The minister made her comments as she launched Castle Rock Edinvar’s ‘1000 new homes for Edinburgh initiative’.

She said: “Housing initiatives such as CRE’s ‘1000 homes for Edinburgh’, which, in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council, is making use of the Scottish government’s housing association grant recycling pilot, are crucial in providing mix-tenure homes for Edinburgh residents, while also supporting the construction industry and creating more local jobs.

“We are doing all we can to facilitate the industry’s recovery, deliver more affordable homes for people across Scotland and protect and create jobs.

“In particular, our Help to Buy (Scotland) shared equity scheme and our support for MI New Home is helping households get onto or move up the property ladder, whilst our National Housing Trust initiative and House-building Infrastructure Loan Fund are also supporting the construction of much needed new homes."