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New study shows that the house building industry can deliver increased supply

Report concludes that “skills shortages are unlikely to represent a barrier
to expansion of the house building industry”

An independent report undertaken by Michael Ball, Professor of Urban Property Economics at the University of Reading, demonstrates that labour and skills shortages identified in the Barker Review do not risk the industry’s ability to significantly increase the rate of house building.

The study, commissioned by CITB-ConstructionSkills and the Home Builders Federation, includes research into the number of skilled jobs required to increase supply and a survey of 20 house builders, responsible for around 30 per cent of annual housing output.

Robert Ashmead, Chief Executive of the Home Builders Federation, said: “This analysis clearly demonstrates that the industry is not only keen - but also able to deliver - the rates of increased building recommended by Kate Barker. We know that we need to invest further in skills and training and I am confident that new initiatives being undertaken will make important progress. It is now up to the Government to help create the conditions whereby the industry can deliver.”

John Cowley, CITB-ConstructionSkills Corporate Services Director, added: “We’re pleased to have supported Professor Ball’s report on skills issues in the housebuilding sector. This study assists our work with the wider construction industry, on effective skills profiling and capacity planning.”

Analysis of the size of the workforce required to meet Kate Barker’s two scenarios for greater output show that:

  • An output level of 250,000 new homes would require 20,000 new UK entrants to the housebuilding workforce
  • An output level of 300,000 new homes would require 80,000 new UK entrants to the housebuilding workforce

The report concludes that “these numbers are substantial but not impossible to achieve. While training issues are important in the expansion of housebuilding, it can be concluded at the same time that skills shortages are unlikely to represent a barrier to expansion of the housebuilding industry.”

Read the press release here.

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