As the political parties launch their manifestos prior to the election, the Federation of Master Builders has published Building for the Future Programme for Government 2019-2024, calling for Government to prioritise building nationally to help alleviate the housing crisis.
Building for the Future sets out a series of measure to help the UK build at least 1.5 million new homes of all tenures in England over the next parliament.
To do this it sets out the following ambitions:
UK-wide policy ambition with three asks: licence all UK construction companies, cut VAT on home improvement works from 20% to 5% and introduce a balanced post-Brexit immigration system to bolster the supply of construction workers.
With regards to English policy the FMB sets out four areas for focus: housing, quality, skills and net-zero.
- Make house building a national priority.
- Free up more public land for house building and break up into small plots to help SMEs.
- Invest in local authority planning departments to speed up the planning process.
- Promote vocational education to create vocational routes.
- Reform the Apprenticeship Levy.
- Introduce mandatory warranties for Building Control-approved work for greater consumer protection.
- Create a ‘general builder’ qualification to improve professionalism in the industry.
- Create a National Retrofit Strategy for upgrade existing housing stock.
- Invest in upskilling builders for low carbon skills.
In the UK, SME builders represents 9% of GDP, and employs 2.7 million people, while every £1 invested in construction actually generates £1.84 in the wider economy*. The FMB’s House Builder’s Survey established an empirical link between SME house builders and the Custom and Self Build (CSB) sector, so the call for land to be split into smaller plots for SME’s is welcomed by NaCSBA, as such a measure will help boost CSB output.
FMB chief executive Brian Berry, pictured launching the manifesto, said: “In this Brexit election the main political parties mustn’t lose sight of the big issues facing the UK such as the current housing crisis. We are still not building enough new homes, and this has led to an affordability crisis and over-crowding. This election is an opportunity for all parties to publish ambitious plans to turn this situation around. Small builders stand ready to help the new Government not only to build more new homes but also make our existing homes more energy efficient.”