The urgent need to build more homes for everyone should be a key priority for all the political parties during the General Election campaign, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). The FMB is calling on all the political parties to make house building a national infrastructure priority, along with 11 other key policy areas in its ‘Programme for Government’ published today.
The programme calls for the political parties to commit to several different ways to ensure the housing crisis is resolved. Political parties should make house building a national infrastructure priority and build 1.5 million new homes, as well as, freeing up more public land for housing and break it up into small plots for small builders. Furthermore, investing in local authority planning departments will speed up the planning process.
Vocational education should be promoted and invested into further education. Calls have also been made to reform the UK Apprenticeship Levy so it works better for small companies and to introduce a fair and balanced post-Brexit immigration system.
Quality still needs to be maintained and therefore all UK construction companies should be licensed and should introduce mandatory warranties for building control-approved work. In addition a new ‘general builder’ qualification needs to be created.
In a bid to resolve the current house crisis political parties need to be addressing net zero carbon and steps to do so include, creating a National Retrofit Strategy, investing in upskilling builders to build and upgrade home fit for the future and to cut VAT on home improvement work to 5%.
Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB 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.”
Berry concluded: “Small building companies will also be instrumental in helping the future government tackle other major challenges facing the UK, from helping to tackle the climate crisis to helping to building the hospitals and schools of the future. Our Programme for Government gives 12 clear policies for each of the political parties to adopt to support SME builders. Politicians must not only give the country the gift of resolving Brexit this Christmas, but also a vision for the future of our built environment.”
The Programme for Government is available here: https://www.fmb.org.uk/media/50547/fmb-programme-for-government-2019-2024.pdf.