FMB welcomes Labour manifesto housing targets

Brian Berry
Brian Berry

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has welcomed the Labour Party’s commitment to build 200,000 new homes a year by 2020.

Labour leader Ed Miliband launched the party’s Westminster manifesto in Manchester yesterday.

The manifesto pledge to build 200,000 homes a year will, according to the party, support up to 230,000 jobs in construction.

FMB chief executive Brian Berry said: “By comparing this Labour manifesto with the last, you can see how far the debate on housing has come in the past five years.

Although the Labour Party’s 2010 manifesto placed a clear emphasis on the importance of increasing home ownership and providing better, more affordable housing, this manifesto explicitly recognises that building more homes is the only route to achieving this – we also have a clear target of building 200,000 new homes a year by 2020.

“I am particularly pleased to see the importance of small house builders being recognised – more active SME house builders will guarantee a healthier and more diverse house building market Labour have committed to improving the flow of finance to small house builders which is crucial to achieving this.

“To its credit, the manifesto also includes clear commitments on prioritising capital investment and reforming council house financing to enable the building of more social housing, which even with expanding private sector building may still be necessary to meet the 200,000 target. These are not new commitments, but we are pleased to see they have made it into the Labour manifesto.”

However, the National Housing Federation has suggested the 200,000 homes target isn’t high enough.

The Federation’s chief executive, David Orr, said: “We welcome Labour’s pledge to help increase the supply of housing by 2020, but we need at least 245,000 new homes every year just to keep up with current demand. Politicians need to be much bolder to get anywhere close to ending the housing crisis within a generation.

“If we have a hope of fixing the housing crisis that has been decades in the making, our politicians need to tackle the underlying causes. We need significant public investment, more land to build on and to regenerate existing homes and communities to make sure everyone has a warm safe secure home to live in that meets their needs.

“We need to see fewer short-term housing initiatives and a clear long term plan to ensure everyone is well housed.”

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