Affordable homes builder Southdale has urged politicians to mark housing and skills high on the agenda as the countdown begins to the 2015 General Election.
As the housing industry meets this week in Manchester for the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Conference, less than a year before the country goes to the polls, Southdale managing director Paul Moore fears the debate will be led by political positioning, rather than focusing on real areas of need.
According to the Home Builders’ Federation, 2012/3 saw one of the lowest house building rates in England since 1923, with around 108,000 completions and projections for 2011 to 2021 suggest at least 220,000 new homes need to be built every year.
Formed in 1992, Southdale has survived two recessions and has its head office in Halifax and a North East base in Darlington, with work covering the whole of the region.
Paul Moore said: “Two of the things everyone in this world needs are a roof over their heads and the chance to earn a wage, so it is important that the country’s housing and skills needs should be high on the political agenda in the run-up to the General Election.
“We are still a long way off the supply of housing meeting demand and the issue of a bubble in the property market is greatly skewed by inward investment in the London and the South East. A lot needs to be done to get the housing market right in the UK and the debate needs to start now.
“In terms of skills, particularly in the construction industry, we are still some way off where we need to be. When the sector was badly hit by the recession, many of those who found themselves out of a job decided they couldn’t afford to hang around, so they retrained, or even went abroad. Now, we have a significant gap to fill. The latest report from the TUC show rapidly decreasing job prospects for many young people who are outside of full-time education, and it is clear that with the right course of action, government can turn this around.”