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Half of UK homes built by just eight firms

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Written by: Christina Hoghton
02/05/2017
The dominance of big homebuilding firms needs to end in order to fix the broken housing market, according to a group of MPs.

The Communities and Local Government Committee published a report today called Capacity in the Homebuilding Industry, in which it concluded that government should support small and medium builders to help solve the housing crisis.

It also said that local authorities must be given the tools they need to make an effective contribution to tackling the housing problem.

More competition needed

The report notes that the eight largest firms build more than half of all new homes and calls for a more competitive market, with a large number of companies of different sizes.

The Committee recommends improving access to land and finance for smaller builders and says government should reduce the risk for builders by preparing sites for development by providing infrastructure and planning permissions.

It calls for improvements in further education to address the growing skills gap, described by the Committee as the biggest challenge facing the sector.

Clive Betts MP, chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, explained: “The housing market is broken, we are simply not building enough homes. Smaller builders are in decline and the sector is over reliant on an alarmingly small number of high volume developers, driven by commercial self-interest and with little incentive to build any quicker. If we are to build the homes that the country so desperately needs, for sale and for rent, then this dominance must end.

“Innovation must be encouraged and we need to finally get to grips with the major challenge of ensuring that the industry has a much-needed supply of skilled workers, without whom this country’s housing crisis cannot be addressed. The Government’s promises are encouraging, but their implementation must be closely scrutinised.”

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