The latest statistics highlighted by Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) show that 261,000 new homes were granted planning permission in the year to March – the highest annual total for eight years.
However, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) while the latest planning permission figures from the Government reveal a welcome increase in permissions being granted they do not equate to homes actually being built.
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “These statistics show that we are moving in the right direction but unfortunately planning permissions do not always result in homes being delivered. To keep pace with demand, we need to deliver 240,000 homes each year and the level of planning permissions being granted might suggest that this target is within easy reach. However, last year we delivered fewer than 120,000 homes.”
Berry continued: “We are working closely with government on removing barriers to house building – particularly barriers to small local builders which are recognised as being vital to reaching our overall target for more new homes. In the late 1980s, SME house builders delivered two thirds of all new homes and now build less than 30%. These firms were also disproportionately hit by the economic downturn and we now need to look at how we can re-empower SME house builders to pick up the slack on housing.”
Berry concluded: “Obviously, these statistics are positive, but let’s not get distracted from what the actual barriers to building are, such as a growing lack of skilled workers. We are facing a skills time bomb with too few bricklayers, site managers, carpenters and joiners to physically build these homes and we are working with government to ensure new apprenticeships can help fill these roles in the medium to longer term.”