Home News Updated. FMB: ‘Disappointing that tackling the skills crisis was absent’ from new PM’s opening statement

Updated. FMB: ‘Disappointing that tackling the skills crisis was absent’ from new PM’s opening statement

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of Federation of the Master Builders (FMB), points to the need for Labour ‘to reform the planning system to make it easier and quicker to build’ and address the perennial problem of the ‘skills crisis’ to ensure ‘we have enough skilled workers in the construction industry to build the homes needed’, if the new government will meet its ambitious target to build 1.5m new homes over the next five years and upgrade five million existing homes.

Keir Starmer will be the UK’s new prime minister following Labour’s landslide victory in the UK general election, ending 14 years of Conservative government.

Speaking in the early hours of July 5th, Keir Starmer announced ‘Change begins now’, and those associated with the construction sector will be looking at what that means for them, and how Labour’s bold claims around issues including housebuilding and upgrading the existing housing stock can be achieved.

Above: Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders

“Additional funding for planning departments offers hope that the planning process will speed up to deliver the homes that are needed”

Welcoming the new Labour government, Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, touched on this very point, saying Labour’s win ‘offers a fresh start to get Britain building’. He continued: “Labour’s pledge to build 1.5 million new houses over the next five years, and upgrade five million existing homes, are ambitious targets but very much needed if the growing housing crisis is to be addressed. The success of Labour’s housing targets will very much depend on two key issues being addressed. First, the need to reform the planning system to make it easier and quicker to build. Secondly, the urgent need to tackle the skills crisis ensuring we have enough skilled workers in the construction industry to build the homes needed.”

Berry continued: “For too long local authority planning departments have been underfunded with the result that planning applications have been held up. Additional funding for planning departments offers hope that the planning process will speed up to deliver the homes that are needed. A long-term training and skills plan to tackle the shortage of construction workers is desperately needed, as is the need for some form of minimum competency level for builders to ensure quality homes are built, and the ones we have are upgraded to the best standards.”

Berry concluded: “The FMB will work closely with the new Government to help ensure its housing pledges are delivered, and that Britain’s builders can play their part to boost much needed economic growth.”

“While the Prime Minister’s promise to rebuild Britain with a clear reset in society, will offer hope to many, it was disappointing to see that tackling the skills crisis was absent from his opening statement of intent”

UPDATED: Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), Brian Berry, on first thoughts following the new PM’s address to the nation:

The new Labour Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer MP, has made clear on the steps of Downing Street that building the homes Britain needs will be a key priority for his Government, but he will need to take urgent action to tackle the skills crisis to make them a reality, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, commented: “The new Prime Minister’s promise to make building affordable homes a priority will come as welcome news to builders across Britain, as well as those looking to get on to the property ladder and own their own homes. However, the construction industry is experiencing a severe shortage of skilled workers. SME building firms across the country stand ready to join the national effort to tackle the housing crisis, but Labour’s ambitions will only be deliverable by taking serious action to boost the workforce.”

Berry concluded: “While the Prime Minister’s promise to rebuild Britain with a clear reset in society, will offer hope to many, it was disappointing to see that tackling the skills crisis was absent from his opening statement of intent. It is essential that the new Government focuses on delivering sustainable long-term growth in the economy, and that will only be achievable by boosting the construction sector, with a long-term action plan for skills.”

www.fmb.org.uk

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