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27 November, 2012

ECONOMY NEEDS BOLD GOVERNMENT ACTION TO SPARK HOUSE-BUILDING BOOST

Tackling crisis would create tens of thousands of jobs

Urgent measures to dramatically increase housing supply and address the growing housing crisis must be included in next week’s Autumn Statement. Addressing the barriers to much needed housing construction would create tens of thousands of direct house building jobs, giving the country a massive economic boost at a crucial time.  

The country is facing a housing crisis and the government has made tackling that crisis central to its attempts to kickstart the economy. Unfortunately, although Ministers have introduced a number of positive measures in recent months, house building remains at historically low levels. In addition planning permissions continue to decline; the number of first time buyers remains at a historically low level, blocking the ambition of many young people to own a home; and millions of families are languishing on Local Authority waiting lists.
Economic growth is crucial to the wider economic recovery. According to Government figures, even in its current crisis state, housing supply accounts for around 3% of UK GDP 

This Autumn Statement is therefore an opportunity the Treasury must take to refine and expand upon the measures it has already introduced so that they deliver their intended results.  The Government must:

  • Work with lenders to make NewBuy mortgages more widely available and more affordable

  • Expand the definition of ‘affordable housing’ so private developers can build many more homes without public subsidy

  • Ensure the financial demands levied by Local Authorities on house building sites are realistic – and don’t make sites unviable and impossible to develop

  • Monitor Local Authorities to make sure they take their new planning responsibilities seriously by putting in place viable local plans that allow home builders to meet the country’s housing needs over the next 10-15 years

  • Remove unnecessary planning obstacles to housing development, such as unreasonable lists of planning conditions

  • Expand - and increase the flexibility of - the ‘Get Britain Building’ scheme designed to open up mothballed housing sites

The full HBF Autumn Statement submission is available here to download.

Speaking today, Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of HBF said:

“This is a critical opportunity for the Government to demonstrate once again its commitment to increase housing supply and boost the economy. 

“Over the past year it has introduced a range of positive measures, but more needs to be done to refine those policies and address other obstacles to home building. [They are not all schemes – e.g. the various planning reforms. So perhaps best to just refer to policies]

“To drive through real change, increase housing supply and reap the social and economic benefits of more new homes, ministers need to dare to be radical. 

“As well as providing desperately needed homes, house building can be a crucial driver in creating local jobs and investment. By tackling the record low build levels and our current housing crisis we would create tens of thousands of jobs.”

Jobs Calculator:

  1. Each home built creates 1.5 full-time jobsLabour Needs of Extra Housing Input Professor Michael Ball - tinyurl.com/6k9xgj6  
  2. Government household projections show we should be building around 230,000 homes a year. We are currently building around 110,000
  3. Increasing house-building by just 25,000 units per year would create 37,500 jobs. In addition, HBF estimates a further 22,500 jobs would created in the supply chain – meaning a total of 60,000 jobs. [25,000 x 2.4 per dwelling = 60,000]

For media enquiries, or to arrange an interview, please contact Steve Turner on 020 7960 1606 / 07919 307 760 or steve.turner@hbf.co.uk