The UK Government has a key role to play in creating the economic environment that will attract inward investment and create long term sustainable growth. As part of that, housing must be seen as a key infrastructure priority for the next Government. We must put in place the skills, capacity and infrastructure we need to deliver large numbers of new and improved homes securing the economic and environmental gains that are vital to re-energising our economy.
The UK is now 1 million homes short of the number it needs to meet its housing needs.
A decade after a government- commissioned report recommended that 210,000 homes needed to be built each year to avert a housing crisis, the Home Builders Federation (HBF) said a "lost decade" meant the shortage was now equal to the number of homes in Birmingham.
Over the past decade an average of just 115,000 homes have been built annually by the private sector, according the HBF, with the recession and the freeze on mortgage finance during the credit crunch contributing to the low levels of building.
It is important that we increase the delivery of new homes of all tenures throughout the UK.
Our homes must be built to last 150 years and the focus must be on quality and adaptability rather than speed of construction.
In order to meet the government’s ambitious carbon reduction targets by 2050 the UK will need to refurbish the bulk of its existing 26 million homes in order to bring them up to an acceptable level of energy efficiency.
Circa 80% of UK homes are privately owned. Simple but effective inducements are required to encourage residents and landlords to invest in their homes to improve and extend them whilst reducing energy consumption.