Unlocking housing market will boost UK growth

23rd August 2012

Commenting on the Montague Report on housing, published today, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:  -A housing market that doesn't deliver the right number of homes, in the right place, at the right price and of the right quality, has a negative impact on business.

Studies show that high housing costs cause labour shortages, especially when companies try to recruit workers in high-cost areas at the lower end of the pay scale. Furthermore, a poorly-functioning housing market may force employees to live further away from their place of work which drives up congestion along key routes and is bad for the environment. -A better functioning private rented sector is essential to improving the UK housing market particularly at a time when the high cost of housing puts home ownership beyond the reach of many. We welcome the measures contained in the Montague Report to improve the private-rented sector, but these measures will not be enough on their own to radically improve the supply of new homes across the country. -A poorly designed planning system and availability of land has for too long prevented development and growth. We would like a firm commitment from the government to increase the amount of available land, which will go some way to delivering new and much-needed housing. In some cases, it may be necessary to review the greenbelt status of land with little amenity value, which could be better used to provide jobs and homes. At a time when the economy is stagnating, it is vital that the government does everything possible to unlock house building which will in turn, boost much-needed growth in the economy.

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