Housing: too little, too late Minister!
The National Federation of Builders responds to yesterday's home building figures, saying that Housing Minister Gavin Barwell's 'jubilation' is misplaced.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has revealed that 189,650 homes were built in 2015/16, up from 152,520 homes delivered between 2014 and 2015.
Gavin Barwell, housing and planning minister, commented: “We promised to turbocharge house building so more people can have the security of their own home, and that is exactly what we are doing…”
Regretfully, the National Federation of Builders (NFB) does not share in the minister’s jubilation. The UK faces an acute housing crisis where demand continues to outstrip supply of new homes.
We need to build 300,000 new homes every year to tackle the housing crisis. The 2015/16 house building statistics show that the Government is not only failing to deal with the housing crisis, but is on course to break its manifesto commitment to deliver one million new homes by 2020.
Simon Girling, national chair of the NFB, said: “You can’t solve a problem unless you admit that what you have been doing has failed. This Government has failed to deliver on all of its housing targets for the last six years. They have had six years to deliver a coherent housing strategy and all the housing minister can do is promise jam tomorrow in the Government’s forthcoming white paper.”
Although the Government has promised to invest £5 billion to boost house building over the next four years, the NFB believes that it should attach greater value to the role and influence of small and medium-sized (SME) house builders.
The share of SME house builders is directly linked to house price inflation. In 1990, when SME house builders made up two-thirds of the whole sector, the average UK house price was approximately £60,000. Twenty years later, with SME house builders down to just one-third of the sector, the average house price is more than £206,000.
Investing in SMEs represents good value for taxpayers’ money, a control on house price inflation and a genuine commitment to local communities. SMEs have their local communities at heart because – operating within a 25-mile radius from the head office – they employ, train and spend locally. For every £1 invested with an SME, 90p stays locally for employment and apprenticeship training.
“By adopting SMEs who deliver the high-quality homes that people both want and need, the Government can put itself in win-win situation by having a policy driven by numbers, but that, for once, also ensures quality”, Simon Girling added.