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Building a Better Future for the Construction Industry

NFB: Rees-Mogg is right about the housing crisis   23rd July 2018

Jacob Rees-Mogg, MP for North East Somerset, told the Telegraph that “sclerotic planning laws” and “gummed up regulation” have contributed to the under-supply of homes and unsustainable house price growth. 

Rees-Mogg correctly argues that burdensome regulation and an inflexible planning process are condemning the housing market to undersupply and unaffordability.

The National Federation of Builders (NFB), whose members include small and medium-sized (SME) businesses, thinks that this has turned building new homes into a test of managing risk rather than meeting popular housing demand.

Putting that shovel in the ground can take months or years, even if a development only delivers a handful of homes. A quagmire of regulatory expectation stemming from the planning process awaits anyone wanting to build a new home, from self-builders to SMEs, community land trusts and housing associations.

Volume developers fare a little better in this risk-led system, but they are not immune to the inflexible nature of getting homes built.

The industry has never opposed good regulation. Homes need appropriate adjoining infrastructure and developers ought to be sympathetic to local community needs, whilst delivering high-quality houses that ordinary working people can call home.

However, some regulation is not just onerous and detrimental to growth, but actively makes it as hard as possible to build the homes we need to tackle the current housing demand.

Costly pre-application advice is not legally binding, despite being a necessity for certain local planning authorities (LPAs), while pre-commencement conditions often replicate information that builders have already provided at earlier stages.

If you are building a home in today’s Britain, the shovels will remain clean until you either become a planning expert or employ a professional to navigate that bog.

The NFB agrees with Jacob Rees-Mogg’s comments on the challenges currently facing the housing crisis.

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “The Government and local planning authorities are beginning to understand the regulatory burden that every builder faces. Rees-Mogg hit the nail on the head when he called for reform of ‘our sclerotic planning laws’.

“We can only build the homes that people need if we leave house builders free to work and prosper without unnecessary regulation dragging them down. This country cannot meet the current housing demand unless the planning system is reformed with a presumption in favour of deliverable supply.”




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