LONDON, (Xinhua) — House building in Britain is at its highest level for eight years, government figures revealed Tuesday.
The Department for Communities and Local Government(DCLG) said new figures show the number of new homes built across the country has risen 11 percent in a year, the highest level since 2007-2008. DCLG said it represents the third consecutive year-on-year increase.
Housing and Planning Minister Gavin Barwell welcomed the figures as evidence that government measures to deliver more homes are working.
More than 893,000 additional homes have now been delivered since 2010. The 189,650 homes created over the past year include 163,940 newly built homes and 30,600 homes created by converting non-domestic properties into residential.
Acknowledging there is still more to do to boost the housing market, Barwell said the government will be setting further details in a housing strategy shortly.
The government recently announced a 3.73 billion U.S. dollars home building fund which will help build more than 25,000 new homes during the current Parliament and up to 225,000 more homes in the longer term.
An additional 2.5 billion U.S. dollars are also being made available to help speed up delivery of homes on surplus public sector land.
A new neighborhood planning bill, which is currently going through parliament, will also support house building by speeding up planning processes.
The Home Builder’s Federation (HBF), voice of the construction industry, said the figures confirm that government plans to deliver one million homes in this parliament is on track.
“The numbers, generally accepted as the most accurate barometer of housing supply, clearly demonstrate that the house building industry is responding to government policies aimed at stimulating supply. They show there has been a 52 percent increase in housing supply over the past three years,” said a federation spokesman.
Federation chairman Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, said: “The industry is committed to delivering the high quality new homes the country needs to address our housing crisis. Moving forward, the house building industry will play a key role in building a new Britain and driving our post Brexit economy.”
But the main opposition Labour Party were critical of the government’s housebuilding record.
John Healey, Labour’s Shadow Secretary for Housing, described this year’s record as disappointing, adding: “We are now well on our way to a lost decade of low housebuilding under the Conservatives. On the most recent figures, the government are set to miss even their own housebuilding target by a big margin. We won’t hit a million homes built until 2025.”
Healey called on Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, to use his autumn statement in parliament next week to back a drive for the building of thousands of low cost homes, including desperately needed affordable homes to rent and buy.