Raab to break ‘vice like grip’ of large housebuilders
The “vice-like grip” of huge companies on Britain’s building industry needs to be broken to increase the supply of affordable homes, the housing minister has said. Dominic Raab pledged action to boost competition in the construction industry because small building firms have been “eviscerated”, to tackle the practice of major developers refusing to built on plots until prices rise and to champion the development of factory-made houses. In an interview with i , he insisted the UK was beginning to see the “light at the end of the tunnel” in the housing crisis and vowed to tackle the “stigma” often faced by tenants in social housing. House building targets Small businesses have almost been eviscerated in the UK market and consumers are then getting a bad deal because the cost of housing Dominic Raab Theresa May has set a target for 300,000 homes to be built in England by 2025 – last year’s total was 217,000 – after anger over the cost of new homes and rent levels became a major issue in last year’s general election. Mr Raab said extra spending on housing, as well as infrastructure to support new developments, was crucial for increasing the supply of affordable homes, but reform of the building industry was also essential. “When any market is gummed up, what you tend to see is a relatively small number of big businesses, big players, who seem to have control over the market and that can put a glass ceiling on the start-up of small businesses. “We have certainly seen that in the developer sector. Small businesses have almost been eviscerated in the UK market and consumers are then getting a bad deal because the cost of housing [is] too high.” Capitalism ‘for the little guy’ He indicated that restrictions could be introduced to prevent major developers acquiring land with planning permission but not building on it – a tactic out of the reach of small builders whose presence in the market has “effectively withered on the vine”. Mr Raab said the “incredibly exciting” growth of self-build houses – homes partly constructed in factories before they were moved to their sites – opened up the industry to new companies – and reduced disruption to communities from construction projects.