Building societies chief tells Government to fix Britain’s housing crisis

Robin Fieth, chief executive of the Building Societies Association
Robin Fieth, chief executive of the Building Societies Association
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THE head of Britain’s building society movement today called on the new Government to deliver a long-term strategy to counter the housing crisis.

Robin Fieth, chief executive of the Building Societies Association, said England needs 200,000 new home a year, but last year the private sector only managed to build 94,000.

Speaking at the group’s AGM in Harrogate, he said: “Solving the housing crisis in the UK will require action from multiple organisations and agencies.

“The single-most important thing that our new Government can do for housing in the early days of this Parliament is to set in motion a long-term plan based on national and regional demographics, infrastructure, employment and environmental concerns.”

Mr Fieth also called on the new Government to consider the cumulative effect of national and international legislation designed to prevent another financial crisis.

He told delegates: “We are not asking for any special preference for mutuals, but a clear recognition that the customer-owned business is different from the shareholder-owned model, with the two being considered side by side as legislation and regulation is structured.”

Yorkshire is the heartland of the mutual movement and is home to the Yorkshire, Skipton, Leeds, Beverley and Ecology building societies, which together have 4.5m members, 14,000 employees and total assets of £66bn.

Last year, they paid nearly £100m in tax on combined profits of £433m.

Harogate Intenational Centre is hosting today’s AGM, which is sponsored by technology firm HP.