House Builders Association welcomes Labour’s new commission on housing

The House Builders Association – HBA (a division of the National Federation of Builders – NFB) today welcomed the launch of a new independent housing review to be conducted by Sir Michael Lyons. The review, commissioned by the Labour Party, will look at constructing a realistic blueprint for building 200,000 new homes by 2020 to address the severe housing crisis in the UK.

James Hulme, strategic policy adviser to the HBA, said:

“This review is not only welcome, it is crucial. The housing and housebuilding issue has moved up the agenda because it is in crisis, a fact recognised by all the main political parties which needs robust practical solutions. The HBA has been saying for some time that the Government’s Help to Buy initiative is welcome and has created demand, but there is a vital need to match this with supply.

“Fewer than half the homes that are needed in the UK are actually being built, and we need to urgently look at the barriers to building new homes. These include the many barriers faced by small and medium-sized (SME) developers and house builders who are a key part of the solution, alongside the largest developers, as SME builders can work to create and strengthen local communities and local economies. We hope that the commission will be thorough and holistic in its recommendations which should address financial barriers to growth as well as the prohibitive planning processes and costs that disproportionately affect smaller house builders in their efforts to build much needed homes.”

One of the experts to sit on the commission is Julia Evans, chief executive of the NFB, who commented:

“I am delighted to be on the panel. There is a shared sense of endeavour and a commitment to the task of examining the evidence and working together to advise Sir Michael Lyons on practical proposals for how we can build more homes, but homes that are fit for purpose, both in terms of quality and impact on the environment. The Labour Party has posed a number of key questions which we will be looking into during the course of the review, based on evidence and our experience.”

The HBA looks forward to contributing to the review from the perspective of the SME house builder.