Industry Reactions: PM Conference Speech

Industry Reactions: PM Conference Speech

Professional Builder is rounding up the latest reactions as they come in to the Prime Minister’s conference speech. 

NLA: “About time”

Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement of a £2bn fund to build more affordable homes, Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer at the NLA, said:

“The majority of landlords would agree that more social housing should be built, and it’s about time that the Prime Minister set aside a significant pot of money to do so.

“Government, society and indeed taxpayers will get better long-term value from investing in building than in subsidising rents.

“Today’s announcement should not only provide more available housing for those most in need at rents they can afford, it should also relieve the pressure on the private sector, and choke off the breeding-ground for the minority of rogues and criminals who get away with providing substandard housing and neglecting their tenants”.

FMB: “Council house building needed to solve housing crisis”

The Prime Minister is right to announce sweeping measures to enable councils to build a new generation of social housing and end the growing housing crisis, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Commenting on Theresa May’s announcement that the Government will invest an additional £2bn in affordable housing, Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said:

“Despite the Prime Minister’s precarious political position since the General Election, Theresa May has today managed to take a braver and bolder stance on house building than any Prime Minister of recent years.

“The private sector will continue to expand the number of new homes it builds, particularly so if the Government succeeds in its aim of removing barriers that hold back small scale house builders.

“However, in the house building heyday of the 1950/60s, a healthy private sector was always complemented by significant levels of social house building. Indeed, we have only ever built at the level we need to keep pace with demand when both the private and public house building sectors have been firing on all fronts. In the 1960s, for example, we were building around 400,000 homes per year and half of those were social housing.”

Steve Mansour, CEO of CRL: “More can be done to make process simpler”

“While it’s good news that Theresa May has pledged further investment into fixing the housing crisis, there are a number of other factors that can prevent homes from being built as quickly as we might like.

“The industry must look at the requirements of the modern homeowner, and potentially consider alternative methods to create the necessary amount of homes, for example, prefabricated and multigenerational homes. It is also important to take into account that basic, affordable family homes do not offer the highest return on investment, and ultimately, these are the types of houses that need to be built to address the shortfall.

“In addition, the government must support the industry and reassess current processes by cutting red tape and updating overcomplicated planning regulations. Whilst this has partly been implemented by The Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017, more can be done to make the overall process simpler for developers to gain the necessary permissions. This will enable a faster planning application process and help to ease the current complex and time-consuming procedures.”

Melanie Leech, Chief Executive, British Property Federation: “We need a housing market firing on all cylinders”

We welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement of an extra £2bn available for council housing across the UK – we need a housing market firing on all cylinders, with the right signals from Government supporting all tenures. For example, council housing, home ownership and Build-to-Rent must all be supported if Government wants to effectively address the underlying issue of affordability.

“Government has called for family-friendly, longer tenancies in the private rented sector, to ensure renters have more security and the Build-to-Rent sector has responded by pledging its commitment to this. Our ambition is that longer tenancies become a trademark of Build-to-Rent.

“We are pleased that the Prime Minister has reiterated her statement of intent to welcome EU citizens and that Britain will remain a global economy. We urge Government to understand how critical this is – particularly if they wish to deliver on their promises of an ambitious housebuilding programme.”

CBI: “Prime Minister will get the answer she has asked for from businesses”

“In response to the profound challenges and opportunities of Brexit and creating a fairer and more prosperous economy, the Prime Minister has today planted important stakes in the ground. She has recognised the fundamental importance of good government working in partnership with responsible business to improve lives. It is the answer to the UK’s most pressing problems, from curing illness and reducing poverty, to protecting the environment and creating fulfilling careers for next generation.

“The Prime Minister’s praise for the risk takers, innovators and entrepreneurs and business, large and small, was refreshing and important to hear.

“But markets are not perfect and the UK’s business community recognises the power of effective state intervention.
“There is no question that the UK’s housing shortage needs action, not only to help people in communities across the country, but also for businesses to attract and retain workers. Strong, decisive intervention alongside the UK’s many world-class homebuilders is the key. The Prime Minister has called on business to respond and get building; she will get the answer she has asked for.

“Affordable energy matters for everyone and particularly for the most vulnerable. However, today’s announcement is an example of state intervention that misses the mark. Market-wide price caps are not the best answer. Suppliers are already acting, providing support to those on pre-payment meters, and continued action to phase out standard variable tariffs would benefit a wide range of consumers, including those on the lowest incomes.

“Skills were lower on the conference agenda than their importance to the UK’s future warrants, so the Prime Minister’s commitment to tackle student debt while retaining secure university funding was welcome.

“On Brexit, it was important to see a continuation of the positive tone from the Florence speech. The next stage must be urgent action to agree the standstill transition with EU partners by the end of the year, and the shape of the final deal as early as possible in the New Year. Every day wasted is lost investment and new jobs not created.”

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