Labour reveals plans to tackle housing shortage

Shadow Housing Minister Emma Reynolds backs local builders

Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister Emma Reynolds has unveiled plans to make it easier for small builders across the UK to contribute to efforts to tackle the country's ongoing housing crisis.

She made her comments in a speech to the National House Building Council in January and noted a future Labour government would aim to guarantee more smaller sites are made available by local authorities to provide space for smaller developers to build new homes.

Ms Reynolds stated that for generations the aspirations of Britons have included owning their own home, but in recent years the spiraling cost of housing, coupled with a lack of development, has made this more difficult than ever before.

As such, she promised to empower more small developers to take on the task of ensuring homes are more available and affordable for all.

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) welcomed Ms Reynolds' comments, with the organisation's Chief Executive Brian Berry arguing an upturn in the number of developments being carried out by smaller builders could yield considerable results in the number of new properties coming to the market each year.

He noted that over the last 25 years there has been a considerable erosion of the position of the smaller builder in the UK, stating that in 1988 more than two-thirds of all new-build properties were completed by small developers, but today the proportion of work being carried out by this group has diminished to less than a third.

There were issues surrounding the proposals, however, that he believes could hold back progress in driving up smaller developer numbers in the coming months and years.

"Two barriers are preventing this from happening - lack of access to finance and lack of access to land," Mr Berry commented. "Until these two issues are addressed, small builders will not be able to build the number of new homes that are urgently needed to solve the housing crisis."

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