“Serious action” needed to tackle UK housing shortage, says CBI

Published:  08 September, 2014

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is calling for a major push to get Britain building, ahead of the party conference season.

The CBI’s manifesto sets out the choices political parties must make to ensure the benefits of growth are felt by all people during the next parliament and beyond. It includes proposals from ‘Housing Britain – building new homes for growth’, which examines the current state of the housing market and the urgent need to ramp up supply across the country.

The report found that shortages have created above-inflation house price rises, which is taking a Ł4bn bite out of consumers’ pockets every year. The situation is also holding back many young people from getting onto the property ladder or renting a good home.

“With conference season around the corner, we need all political parties to put forward election pledges that tackle the UK’s challenges head on so that we deliver prosperity for everyone – not just from next May, but for a generation,” said Katja Hall, CBI deputy director general. “Addressing the chronic housing shortage should be near the top of every party’s to-do list.

“A perfect storm is brewing in the housing market. With demographic changes and demand currently dramatically outstripping supply, now is the time for action. Political parties of all colours have made the right noises on the need for more homes, but without serious action the ambition to own a home will become more and more out of reach to ordinary people.”

The CBI is calling for the following measures:

  • The development of 10 new towns and garden cities by 2025
  • Doubling the number of new homes currently built to 240,000 a year
  • Reforming Stamp Duty to end its distorted impact on the housing market.

Other potential areas for action by the next government include:

  • Giving local authorities more power to release low quality green-belt land
  • Spending more on capital support for new homes by redressing the balance with housing benefits
  • Introducing fiscal incentives to help older people looking to downsize, or families wanting to extend homes.

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