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Wed June 16 2021

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CBI presses for house-building action

7 Nov 16 Building more houses is a UK business priority as well as a social one, according to the bosses’ lobbying group, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

The CBI also says that the government must give more support to small and medium sized building companies if it is to realise its ambition to have one million new homes built by 2020.

In a report called No Place Like Home, the CBI calls for ‘a new way of thinking’ to tailor the types of houses that are built and the way they are delivered to the needs and aspirations of those who will live in them.

The UK’s housing shortage is not just a social issue, it says, but also an acute problem for businesses. The lack of affordable homes continues to hamper firms’ ability to recruit and retain talented staff, and long commutes impact on workers’ productivity.

The CBI is lobbying for:

  • a strategic housing plan from the Department for Communities & Local Government
  • government help for small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) housebuilders through improved release of small sites of public land and making access to finance easier, by rolling out its Home Building Fund
  • recognition of the importance of the private rented sector.

CBI deputy director-general Josh Hardie 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.

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“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.

“The ‘one size fits all’ approach has passed its sell-by date. 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. Equally, we must see different types of players in the market, like small housebuilders, more innovation and new partnerships between business to boost our supply base.

“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.”

Other recommendations in the report include greater flexibility for housing associations, increase capital spending on affordable housing, and for housing should be brought into the remit of the National Infrastructure Commission and its national infrastructure assessment.

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