The Builders Merchants Federation has welcomed the second House of Commons’ Select Committee Housing & Credit Crunch follow-up report published last week.
The report states that far more needs to be done by the Government to tackle the growing housing shortage – especially the availability of mortgages.
It also states that the Government scheme to get mortgages moving is “doomed to fail”, reiterates the importance of retaining skills & capacity in the industry and calls for housebuilding targets to be maintained, despite the downturn.
Commenting on the Report, Chris Pateman, BMF Managing Director, said: “builders’ merchants believe the Government is doing nowhere near enough if we are to rescue our companies, save our jobs, retain our skills, keep our apprentices, safeguard our investments and build our way out of recession.
“This Report recognises several points that ‘Get Britain Building’ has been making in the 7 months since we started the campaign. I’m delighted that some politicians are beginning to understand and appreciate the dire state of UK construction. I believe we have genuine, compelling reasons for construction to be the engine that drives the country out of recession.
“The findings demonstrate that MPs are hearing an urgent, consistent message from homebuilders, housing associations, mortgage lenders and others who say action is required now to protect the nation’s long-term interests. If ministers don’t listen and fail to act on what those in housing & construction are saying, the Government is storing up serious problems for the future.”
Pateman also points out that the Committee’s remarks on the high turnover of MPs responsible for housing & planning in Whitehall endorse the BMF’s view that ministers cannot be expected to get to grips with the subject if they don’t stay long.
“Don’t forget, the appointment of John Healey last month means the BMF has dealt with five Housing Ministers in 2 years. Since June 2007, when Gordon Brown became Prime Minister, we’ve seen John Healey, Margaret Beckett, Caroline Flint, Yvette Cooper and whoever was there in the last weeks of Tony Blair. And yet London MP, Nick Raynsford, held the job in both government and opposition for 10+ years – which made him a respected and credible figure in industry circles.
“If nothing is done soon, we fear more redundancies by merchants – regrettably, over 11,000 jobs have gone since the credit crunch started.”