Labour Provides Hope To Build The Homes The UK Needs

Labour’s proposed planning reforms offer the best hope to build the homes we need, the Federation of Master Builders says. And the National Federation of Builders seems to agree.

Brian Berry, the chief executive of the FMB, says: “The current housing crisis won’t be solved unless radical proposals to reform the planning system are put in place. The Labour Party manifesto contains several exciting proposals, which offer hope for the future of the building industry. The plans to build 1.5 million new homes over the next five years and the pledge to impose binding house building targets on local councils, are welcome news. Labour’s ‘Grey Belt’ proposals, which sit alongside their ‘Golden Rules’ for development, offer real hope for seeing small sites for new homes unlocked.”


National Federation of Builders

Richard Beresford, the chief executive of the NFB, says: “Labour have accepted the blindingly obvious that growth requires bold action. And one of those bold actions must be to fix the planning process, not just for housing but energy, public services, employers, transport and many other strategic ambitions that have been ignored over these past two decades.

Thankfully, this appears a core component of the Labour manifesto and if they win the general election and implement their promised reforms, the UK can look forward to more homes and jobs, better infrastructure and transport, stronger placemaking, certainty for investors and levelling up in practice, rather than as a slogan. In turn, this wealth creation will mean higher tax revenues and more money available for public services.

“The UK needs a plan for growth and Labour appear committed to implementing one.”


Federation of Master Builders

Berry adds: “Planning reform is a key issue which the FMB has long campaigned for. Earlier this year the FMB called on the UK’s political parties to ensure that the National Planning Policy Framework is enforced at the local level and for additional funding for local authority planning officers. It is encouraging that the Labour Party have taken these calls on board.

“Proposals to establish ‘Skills England’ offers hope to tackle the current skills crisis in the building industry. Pledges to boost apprenticeship numbers as well as Labour’s Warm Home Plan will be a major boost to rolling out retrofitting of homes across Britain. There is, however, potential to go further with the creation a dedicated Housing Department and a Secretary of State for Housing who can attend Cabinet meetings.”


Labour manifesto

The Labour manifesto takes the premise of enabling change through strategic reforms and runs this narrative as a theme across eleven chapters:

  • Immediately update the National Planning Policy Framework.

  • 1.5 million homes over the next parliament.

  • Restore mandatory housing targets.

  • Ensure local authorities have up-to-date local plans and strengthen the presumption in favour of sustainable development.

  • Brownfield first but accept it is not enough to meet the UK’s needs.

  • Strategic green belt land designation and implement a grey belt land definition.

  • Further devolution to local authorities and regions.

  • Reform procurement rules to better favour SMEs.

  • Reform compulsory purchase compensation rules and improve land assembly.

  • Support SMEs with action on late payment and easier access to capital.

  • Transform Further Education colleges into specialist Technical Excellence Colleges.

Rico Wojtulewicz, Head of Policy and Market Insight at the NFB, says:

“Labour appears to understand how damaging a broken planning system is for society, the economy and growth. For the construction industry this means businesses will finally be able to plan, rather than operate hand to mouth. Such a change will ensure cashflow certainty for businesses reinvestment, which in practice means a reduction in construction insolvency, more directly employed labour and apprenticeships and businesses getting back to constructing, rather than spending ninety per cent of their time getting permission to start building.”


Picture: Two big industry bodies believe Labour’s planning reforms offer hope to build the homes the UK needs – and hope to those who supply and/or fit products into those homes.


Article written by Brian Shillibeer
17th June 2024


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