Ministers get housing crisis alert

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The housing market is broken and overcrowding is getting worse, a report warned as official figures showed the number of new homes started by house builders in England fell again in the first three months of the year.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said public and private builders began construction on 24,140 properties this quarter, marking an 11 per cent drop on the previous period.

The figures were released after a study said more homes must be built to tackle the country’s “burgeoning housing crisis”.

The National Housing Federation, the homelessness charity Shelter and the Chartered Institute of Housing called on the Government to do more after finding it to be failing on five out of 10 key issues.

In their report, they urged the coalition to provide thousands of much-needed homes to help stimulate the economy.

The study revealed that affordability in the rented sector, help with housing costs, homelessness, the housing supply and overcrowding were getting worse.

Its authors said the Government was “falling well short” in tackling the country’s housing issue.

Yesterday’s figures prompted a call for investment in the construction industry to boost economic growth.

National Housing Federation chief executive David Orr said: “The 6 per cent fall in housing starts over the past 12 months must be a huge wake-up call”.