Budget ‘a shot in the arm’ for housing

23 March, 2011

Measures recognise severity of the housing crisis – but long term plan still needed

Measures announced in today’s Budget to support house-building demonstrate that the Government is listening and has recognised the severity of the housing crisis and the vital economic role the house-building industry plays. The Government must now build on this positive Budget and ensure it puts in place long term changes to the planning system to avoid falling further into crisis.

Moves to address the major constraints to home building – the lack of mortgage availability, the planning system and over regulation - as consistently called for by HBF, begin to meet the firm commitment by Government to increase housing supply, address the housing shortage and create tens of thousands of jobs. 

Introducing ‘Firstbuy’ is a vital and extremely positive move to help thousands of potential FTBs currently being thwarted by the chronic lack of mortgage availability. The HBF has long campaigned for the introduction of this measure which will also ensure more homes are built, providing a much needed economic boost to local economies up and down the country and creating tens of thousands of jobs.

Speaking today HBF Executive Chairman Stewart Baseley said;

“We are pleased the Government is listening to industry concerns and has recognised the economic and social benefits of building more homes. With Firstbuy the Government has stepped up with a policy that will help first time buyers, boost economic growth and provide a vital shot in the arm for the house-building industry.”

Action was desperately needed. House building is at its lowest level since 1923; planning permissions are continuing to decline; the number of first time buyers (FTBs) has collapsed and millions of families are languishing on Local Authority waiting lists

Baseley continued;

“The severity of the housing crisis dictates that work doesn’t stop here. It is crucial that all today’s announcements are built on, regulation is reduced, land supply increased and the planning system simplified.  The Budget shows ministers are listening and serious about tackling our housing crisis. This is a very positive start.

“The Chancellor’s commitment to switch to a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ based planning system, where the default answer is ‘yes’, is also a positive statement of intent. If the Government is to meet its commitment to increase housing supply, more permissioned land must be made available.”

HBF still believes that further action on reducing regulation is required, to supplement announcements today that the Minister will write to Local Authorities with regards to Section 106 ‘infrastructure tariff’ payments, and on more sensible carbon efficiency targets, if more potential housebuilding sites are to become viable.

Jobs Calculator:

Each home built creates 1.5 full-time jobs
Labour Needs of Extra Housing Input Professor Michael Ball - http://tinyurl.com/6k9xgj6 Increasing house-building by 130,000 units per year (to Government household projection levels) would create 195,000 jobs.

The HBF estimates twice that number of jobs are created in the supply chain – close to 400,000 jobs.

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

Notes to Editors:

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is the representative body of the home building industry in England and Wales. The HBF’s 300 member firms account for some 80% of all new homes built in England and Wales in any one year, and include companies of all sizes, ranging from multi-national, household names through regionally based businesses to small local companies: www.hbf.co.uk