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Plan B is key to solving Britain's unemployment woes

21/03/2011
 Plan B is key to solving Britain's unemployment woes

The Government could wipe out the country's soaring unemployment problem if it adopted bold measures to stimulate house building.

According to latest figures, unemployment ballooned to a 17-year high of 2.5m in January, a level that threatens to seriously hamper economic recovery.

Get Britain Building Plan B campaigners have urged Chancellor George Osborne to put housing at the heart of his growth Budget on Wednesday and at a stroke solve the problem of rising unemployment.

They have highlighted that Britain's jobless total coincides with the exact number of jobs that would be created from a growth package based on stimulating house building.

Mike Leonard, director of the Modern Masonry Alliance, said: "The population is growing at four times the rate of 30 years ago, while the aging population and single homes formation is going to lift housing need even further.

"With GDP in reverse and unemployment rising rapidly we look to the Chancellor to deliver a stimulus to the housing market.

He added: "We urgently need to see measures to address the massive shortfall in delivery and create much-needed employment leading to economic growth.

"The industry's Plan B campaign launched at the political party conferences last autumn outlined how investment in house building could create 2.5m jobs."

Leonard said: "The solution to our problems is on the table, we just need the political will to tackle the housing crisis head on."

He warned that unless action is taken urgently present spending plans would see house building fall below last year's woeful level of around 102,000 homes.

This is well short of the 240,000 annual target needed to meet expected demand and would precipitate a serious, long term housing crisis.

There is growing pressure on the Government to tackle the housing demand.

England faces a shortfall of 750,000 homes by 2025, the centre-left think tank the Institute of Public Policy Research has warned.

Social housing landlords, house builders, the Labour party and the Confederation of British Industry have all expressed deep concern that the country's housing problems are worsening rather than improving.

Leonard added: "It has never been more important to hammer home the message that every £1 invested generates £2.84 in economic activity - 92% of which stays in the UK."

Get Britain Building has brought together the country's biggest coalition of companies and organisations supporting the built environment.

These included: The Builders' Merchants Federation, Precast Concrete Federation, Construction Products Association, Federation of Master Builders, Home Builders' Federation and Modern Masonry Alliance.

Click here to read the Plan B leaflet