Belfast Telegraph

Government should help housebuilders to meet million new homes target, says CBI

Business leaders have called for a "step change" in housebuilding if the Government is to meet its ambition of a million new homes by 2020.

The CBI said there should be an "ambitious new way of thinking", warning that the housing crisis is an "acute problem" for companies as well as being a pressing social issue.

The Government was urged to offer help to small and medium sized housebuilding firms through improved release of public land as well as easier access to finance.

Josh Hardie, the CBI's deputy director-general, said: "Solving the UK's housing shortage has long been a tough nut to crack.

"For Britain's businesses, it is far from something confined to the news columns.

"It's a problem the impacts of which are seen every day, from high prices barring people moving home and deterring them from applying or staying in a job, to the dent it puts in productivity.

"A quiet revolution in the way business and the Government think about, provide and deliver housing is necessary if we are to reach the welcome target of one million new homes by 2020.

"As the demographic landscape changes, we must have homes in the right places that fit the needs of people who live in them, creating vibrant and attractive communities.

"A flexible approach, underpinned by government working with business, will enable us to deliver the homes we sorely need, and which will drive productivity, boost growth and increase prosperity in every corner of the country."

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: "Building the homes this country needs is an absolute priority, with almost 900,000 homes delivered since 2009 and house building starts up by two thirds.

"We've recently announced £5 billion to support small builders and accelerate construction on public sector land, and our housing white paper will set out further measures to keep the country building."