Our mission’s to build says MP as homes crisis deepens

John Healey MP
John Healey MP
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New households are emerging in Yorkshire at three times the rate new homes are being built to accommodate them, according to a new regional study by the former Minister for Housing.

Writing in today’s Yorkshire Post, Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey warns the bleak housing situation is deteriorating in 2012, with house-building in the region down by 25 per cent in the first quarter of this year as the double-dip recession take its toll on the construction industry.

Mr Healey said the picture was already grim last year, when just 9,000 new homes were built across the region to accommodate 27,000 new families. He added that many of the homes that are built end up in the hands of buy-to-let landlords, rather than the families who need them most.

“We urgently need a much bigger but also more balanced growth in new homes than this region and country have seen in the last 30 years,” he writes.

“It should be our new ‘nation-building’ mission to make decent, affordable and secure homes available for all.”

Labour’s former Housing Minister said he accepts the problem stretches back decades and spans successive governments, but warned it is becoming increasingly acute owing to the ongoing economic uncertainty.

The Home Builders’ Federation (HBF) described the situation as a “crisis” yesterday, warning the lack of mortgage availability and a shortage of suitable land with planning consents are holding back new developments.

“We are experiencing an acute housing crisis in this country, and are currently building less than at any time since the 1920s,” said HBF spokesman Steve Turner.

He called on the banks to start lending again and on local authorities to use new planning guidance to make it easy to get new developments underway.

“As well as the social benefits of delivering the houses we need, addressing the shortfall would create thousands of jobs and give the region an economic boost.”

The Government insists it is doing all it can, having shaken up the planing system and introduced a number of scheme to support new mortgages and get stalled developments underway.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said: “I am determined that we pull out all the stops to get Britain building, putting housing centre stage in our plans for economic recovery, and I am impatient to see builders on sites and work started on the homes this country needs.”