FIGURES showing an 11% fall in housebuilding starts in England since the end of last year underline the seriousness of the UK housing crisis and the need for government action to help small housebuilders, says a construction industry chief.
Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said the latest figures showed the country was “nowhere near” delivering the quantity of housing needed to meet demand for affordable homes.
And he added: “If the Government is serious about dealing with the housing crisis it is going to have to take bold and decisive action to get small house builders back into the market.”
Mr Berry said: “In the past when we were delivering housing in significant quantities, the smaller house builders provided around two-thirds of annual output,
“But thanks to the ever-increasing burden on the house building industry and the much higher costs associated with building homes on small and micro sites, this has fallen to just a third and the number of smaller house builders has fallen by around 69%.
“SME house builders are essential to increasing build rates, but very difficult to reach even with targeted programmes such as the Government’s ‘Get Britain Building’ and ‘NewBuy’.
“The Government needs to use its position to increase the supply of business and mortgage finance to the sector, demonstrate leadership on making the case for communities to accept new housing and prioritise increasing the supply of housing over the introduction of additional red tape on the sector.
“Sadly, the housing crisis has been a long time in the making but now requires decisive action.”