Housebuilding in UK advances

Yesterday the construction figures came out . They showed total output up 1.6% over the last year (3 months on 3 months average) . Within that total private sector housebuilding was well ahead. Private commercial work was down. Overall construction output was 27.6% higher than in January 2013, the five year low point.  Those who point out the three month on previous three month figure was down are giving a misleading impression, as there is always a seasonal impact during the winter.

Persimmon, a leading housebuilder,  on Tuesday  announced it had increased its forward sales of homes by 10% in December, rounding off a year of growth. Other UK housebuilders too have reported increased build rates and sales. Persimmon’s completions for the year were up 6% at 16043 new homes.  The long recovery from the pre banking crash levels is now well advanced.

At the same time as the building industry steps up its output there needs to be increased capacity for building materials. The UK is importing too much, when these products have high transport costs and can be well made nearer the point of use. Persimmon has just put in a new brick plant at Harworth to produce 80 m bricks a year. Ibstock, one of the UK’s leading brick makers, has also built a new factory to make 100m bricks a year and is expanding the output at its Lodge Lane facility in Cannock as well. These investments will expand UK brick output by around 10%.

There are import substitution and growing market opportunities in concrete blocks, cement, prefabricated timber sections and roof tiles, as well as in the interior fitting out with kitchen and bathroom units, plumbing and electrical systems. The strength of the underlying market to buy a new home can underpin a wider recovery in the building industry.

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  1. Nig l
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    Excellent news, let’s see pictures of TM et al visiting these places rather than the stock hospitals etc that only serve to remind the public of the difficulties you face. HMG I think has announced support for electric car technology etc, questionable in my view because far bigger hitters are investing far more elsewhere. Where is the strategy and funding support for this broader building based manufacturing that seems to be able to give U.K. plc a quicker and more measurable benefit than some of the blue sky stuff?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      Electric cars will come in due course, when the battery technology range and charge times are improved. Then they will make sense for many more people. The government should not be rolling out premature technology with tax breaks & grants paid for by taxes on others with more sensible cars now. This is economic vandalism and scientifically illiterate. The electricity still has to be generated mainly from fossil fuels anyway and much is lost in the generation, distribution, charging, discharging and voltage conversion. Also creating the car batteries is a dirty and very energy intensive business too.

      • Hope
        Posted January 11, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        The UK govt is bound to follow EU rules and directives. the question is: is this a govt idea and policy or one from the EU to follow? if it is likely to harm our economy as we leave then the govt needs dos tart to consider whether it will follow EU directives or not. if it is not then any suggestion of a transition is a complete sham and it is an extension to help the EU budget and EU countries economies i.e. fishing quotas continuing even though the UK technically left. it is clear May is trying for a technical leave but is remaining in all but name.

        • getahead
          Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:51 pm | Permalink


      • getahead
        Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        So have they given up on hydrogen?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      Yes she could visit a completed house and say look this house costing £550,000. Then she could say this house cost about £300,ooo more than it should have done to build. All entirely due to government taxes, delays and red tape.

      The stamp duty, restrictive and delayed planning rules, OTT employment laws, OTT green crap building regulations, the apprenticeship levy tax, the social housing requirement (another tax), the planning gain taxes, some vat that cannot be recovered, the tree report, bat report, the environmental report, the misguided interference in the design by planners, the disabled access compliance, the lack of competition in UK banking, the SAP testing …..

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:02 am | Permalink

        Or alternatively this house could have been double the size of the same money. Instead of this pokey little house that which be rather unpleasant for a family to live in.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 11, 2018 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        Another excellent piece by Allister Heath today:

        He is surely quite right that if May sells out (and fully I expect that she will – she gets everything else wrong after all) that the Tories are done for. His discussion of which leaders are real Conservatives, Whigs or a Libertarians is perhaps interesting. But to me Heath, Major, Cameron, May (and even Thatcher in terms of what was actually delivered) were essentially just dire big state, high taxing and regulating socialists.

        Give the people freedom, let them keep more of their own money, reduce the bloated state sector, get out of their way and watch the economy grow.

        • Andy
          Posted January 11, 2018 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

          Well said. Let’s start by axing state pensions and old age perks.

          • libertarian
            Posted January 12, 2018 at 8:58 pm | Permalink


            If your mate Gordon Brown hadn’t already stolen our pensions that would actually be a good idea

    • jerry
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      @Nig 1; Interesting mix, this govts. home building program and their wish to see more electric cars, but I bet the building code has not been updated to make it mandatory for all new homes to have secure off-street parking with a charging point?

      • ian wragg
        Posted January 11, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        If I remember correctly, Prescott encouraged houses to be built without garages or off street parking. Excellent idea when you own an electric vehicle and can’t breach a charging point.
        I think the whole distribution network will have to be upgraded if we all are to have charging points, if you want a rapid charge then the cable must be sized for about 100 amps.

        • acorn
          Posted January 11, 2018 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

          A 100 Amps (23 kW) single phase supply has been fairly standard in urban areas for some years. When the family gets home during the “darkness peak” (5 pm – 6:30 pm in winter); switches on the electric oven and electric hob, and kettle; plugs in the one or two car battery chargers; we will be talking, worst case, an extra 18,000 MW (plus 30%) over today’s demand profile for the winter darkness peak.

          BTW. An old converted cowshed in Normandy, that I visit for group mega piss-ups, miles from the nearest supermarket, has a three phase supply to it on poles. This gives it a bit more than twice the kW power, that is available to a UK residence.

          • Iain Gill
            Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

            If you read the National Grid website you will find one of their published business risks is the widespread takeup of electric cars , and analysis which explains how the national grid currently in place simply would not be able to cope in lots of ways. There is massive lack of generating capacity and grid capacity to support any large takeup of electric cars.

            And they aint that green when you take into account the pollution at the generating plant, the transmission losses in the grid, and the significant pollution in the production and end of life disposal of electric car batteries.

            So its far from the simplistic nonsense we normally hear.

          • ian wragg
            Posted January 12, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

            I meant a 100 watt charging point in addition to the domestic supply.

          • libertarian
            Posted January 12, 2018 at 9:00 pm | Permalink


            And do you know why, French cowsheds have a 3 phase power supply?

        • jerry
          Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

          @Ian Wragg; It’s rather irrelevant what John Prescott did or didn’t do, Labour has been out of government since 2010 (Prescott since 2007), what matter is what the current Govt has done since 2010, and since their more recent pledge about EV’s. Also most people will not need rapid charging points.

          • Iain Gill
            Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

            Well incentivising the system so that lots of houses are built without adequate parking, and those that look superficially ok often have garages which are too small for average size cars, is the responsibility of all parties who have been part of the political ruling class over recent decades.

          • getahead
            Posted January 11, 2018 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

            They will also need a rectifier.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 11, 2018 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

            If you want to charge an electric car in an hour instead of six hours then rapid charging installations will be needed.
            Most people….perhaps not.
            But if the electric car is to become popular then a network of rapid charging points at home and at work and out in the country will be needed.

          • jerry
            Posted January 12, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

            @Ian Gill; EVs were off the radar even 10 years ago, all the talk was about hybrid, on-street or insecure [1] parking is not an issue for them – but current govt. policy is an expansion of pure EVs, thus the need for THEM to update the building codes.

            [1] in terms of the safety and security of having electric cables between building and car

            @getahead; Every battery charger built needs a rectifier. In EVs it is more likely that the car will have the voltage transformer, regulator and rectifier, not the property/hook-up point.

            @Edward2; Very few will need to charge their vehicles in an hour, if what you suggest is the norm then EV battery/regenerative braking technology is no suitably advanced for general deployment of EVs as a replacement for the IC engine. Overnight charging will/should be adequate for the majority.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 12, 2018 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

            Yes overnight charging at home will be ok for many.
            But a network of fast chargers is needed for those out and about.
            Just as we have fuel stations today.
            With a fast charger you can get back up to 80% from near zero in an hour.
            Better than waiting 7 hours or getting stranded on a long journey.
            Range of EVS is improving fast but over 300 miles is rare.

          • jerry
            Posted January 13, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; “But a network of fast chargers is needed for those out and about.”

            Why! If you are correct about a 300 mile range then few will need express charging, that is no5t to say that top-up charging can not be offered, most will not need a full recharge.

            You do realise that with a 300 mile range that should be enough to drive from London to Manchester without having to top-up on route! Longer distance travel will likely be by train as a walk-on passenger, or perhaps car carrier trains with on-board charging. So the only places that I can see that will need 1 hour charging facilities are motorway services and the such for the relatively few who still choose to drive such distances. You also assume that the battery technology will be suitable for regular fast charging.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 11, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        Indeed but good that it has not as that would make them even more expensive and most people do not need a charge point.

    • Hope
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      JR this is not good news. There is no money for infrastructure and six housbulders have cornered the market making prices excessive. LAs not spending CIL or NHB on services required for these houses and people but on salaries and vanity projects while claiming no money. Community charge raised with additional two additions I creasing our bills: social adult care and flood defence. Now Javid wants to add another six percent on top of this! More and more taxes for your mass immigration policy, we cannot afford it. How about energy, water, waste, pollution no social cohesion?

      Mass immigration cannot continue. Rudd sent her open letter to EU citizens welcoming their 20 million or so family members as a matter of right. This is before any revised immigration policy or the alleged no deal is better than a bad deal. We know May has caved in to the first round of talks by the evidence of phase one because of her false claims it is fair to the taxpayer when she will not tell us exactly how much of our money she is giving away or for how long. She is deliberately trying to be vague. She also gave away ECJ, regulatory alignment, single market and customs union by another name. No this is not good news.

      • Linda Jones
        Posted January 11, 2018 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Hope. When will the elephant in the room be acknowledged? This isn’t simply a ”housing crisis” or an ”NHS crisis” – it is a ”population crisis”.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Indeed and this despite the absurd level of stamp duty up to 15%, the idiotically structured “apprenticeship” tax, the hugely damaging employment laws, the slow expensive planning system, the OTT green crap building regulations and endless other obstacles government erects. Stamp duty often gets paid two of even three times in a development be the time the end user finally gets the property.

    But is seems T May is more interested in more taxes on plastic bags and coffee cups in her version of Cameron’s “vote blue go green”, “hug a husky photo op agenda”. Just get on with facking dear, do something sensible for a change! It is not your role to tell supermarkets to have plastic free aisles. Far more important things for you to do like getting a sensible low tax chancellor in place & getting the bloated and inept state sector to reduce in size and actually deliver some value for once. Or sort out our appalling NHS and all the people whose January operations have been cancelled or cancer treatments reduced, amended or delayed due to NHS incompetence.

    The real bane of the construction industry is generally boom and bust. This largely happens due to the delays in the industry (and especially the planning system and government caused delays) responding to demand. Or we get busts due to idiot government policies like the ERM, OTT green crap building regulations, over restrictive planning, over taxation SDLT at 15% and the banking collapse of 2007/8 (again an abject failure of the Labour government regulators and the BoE).

    Even now development funding on sensible terms from banks is hard to find and on rather demanding and time wasting terms with endless bank interference and surveys/valuations needed. Please can we have a proper real Conservative government – rather than this pathetic wet imitation of New Labour, with their tax, regulate, tax again and tip it all down the drain agenda?

    • zorro
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      I am afraid that T May is the virtue signaller par excellence. I fear that it is the only way that she feels that she can be loved or get approval. Remember she feels like she is in the nasty party still. So many of these ‘virtuous’ initiatives could be achieved through cmpetition and market forces. I don’t need a plastic bag, do you?


  3. John Soper
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Hello? Brexit? Where is the great and easy trade deal with the EU? Where are the superb global trade deals? where is the ” we won’t pay a penny to leave” pledge? Stop hiding, Mr Redwood, face up to the collapse of your promises

    • alan jutson
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      John Soper

      Perhaps it has escaped your attention but we are not allowed to sign any trade deals whilst we are still in the EU, under EU Law !

      You are surely not expecting us break EU law are you.?

      It may have also escaped you attention that is was the EU that did not want to talk trade, and have delayed the talks until March even though so called stage 1 has been agreed.
      We wanted to talk trade at the outset, but all the EU wanted from us was money, money, money. Just like they always have for 45 years.

      • acorn
        Posted January 12, 2018 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        Can we get something straight. A basic, that Brexiters/climate change deniers (apparently one and the same), have grave difficulty understanding.

        (1) The UK is leaving the EU voluntarily.
        (2) The EU is not throwing the UK out of the EU.
        (3) Article 50 and the subsequent Article 218(3), promise nothing tangible to the leaving Member State.
        (4) The “Withdrawal Agreement” that concludes Art 50, could just say “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish”. (HT: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

    • NickC
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      John Soper, It seems quite odd for a Remain like yourself to crow about the EU’s spite and vindictiveness. But of course continuity Remain advocates that we submit to the EU, pay large amounts of our money to the EU, and stay under EU government and EU courts control. So why are you surprised when the government adopts those policies and gets kicked by the EU? You know perfectly well that is not the way we Leaves would negotiate.

  4. Mark B
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Well it is nice to know that some people are benefiting from MASS immigration.

    So the commercial side of construction is slowing. That is a bit of a concern. Money will always go where more money can be made, and clearly, office space is not one of them 😉

    Battersea Reach in London and many other developments are not selling their overpriced rabbit hitches. It seems the foreign money sees better buys elsewhere.

    Meanwhile the London housing market is beginning to stagnate. Overpriced due to the BTL boom it seems the money is moving to the cheaper North of England. Soon too the young there will not be able to afford a home and many people will be stuck in negative equity unable to sell. I seem to remember Canada has, or had such a problem. I wonder if anyone can guess the connection 😉

    So here is my missive on today’s topic. I await its release from moderation sometime tomorrow morning like all the others.


    • NickC
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Mark B, The young in the North can’t afford the houses either, because the pay is lower. If some of the 9+ million (official figure) foreign born people in the UK (probably nearer 15m, given the NINos)) went home then house prices would drop and we would need less building on green land.

      • zorro
        Posted January 11, 2018 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

        Some coffee shops might close? Oh well, I can drink coffee at home. I got a coffee set for Christmas after all……


    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Surprising anyone buys anything much with up to 15% stamp duty on it and there is capital gains on non real gains at 28% too, when you sell. So you might have to wait 10-20 years or more just to get your money back in real terms. This after all the buying and selling costs and the CGT taxed (on inflation too), and if you die in the meantime they will nick another 40% off you in IHT.

      • Diogenes
        Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        According to “Tax when you sell your home”, there is NO capital gain tax if you only have one house and you have lived in it as your main home.
        So I could not care less about your situation as a BTL landlord!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Surprising anyone buys anything much with up to 15% stamp duty on it and there is capital gains on non real gains at 28% too, when you sell. So you might have to wait 10-20 years+ to ever get your money back in real terms. This after all the buying and selling costs and the CGT taxed (on inflation too). Also if you die in the meantime they will nick another 40% off you in IHT.

      Plus Hammond is mugging landlords with double interest tax and overseas buyers too with CGT and enveloped dwelling taxes.

      Hammond/Osborne are the main cause of price falls in London.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        Lots of people have to buy simply to get in the catchment area of decent schools. I know lots who would prefer to rent who simply would not let their kids go to the schools in the areas with rented houses available.

        Another state manipulation of the system. If parents had proper buying power in the relationship with schools it would amongst other things free them up to live where they wanted much more easily.

  5. Dave Andrews
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    You mention production of bricks in this country, but should we look at other materials as well?
    In our recent kitchen and bathroom installations, we found it was possible to buy “Made in Britain” fittings, but the price was very high. Is it not possible for brass fittings to be manufactured in this country at competitive prices?

    • ian wragg
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      We too sourced UK made fittings and equipment for our kitchen, not so for the bathroom or en-suite.
      10 years on there has been no maintenance in the kitchen but all the chrome in the bathroom and en-suite has been replaced.
      It may be a little more expensive but it is generally better quality.
      The Italian chrome and brass is very poor.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      Dave, not with the ridiculous energy prices and more price rises to come thanks to things like wind farms.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      The two leasing “German” manufacturers of bathroom taps and fittings are owned by a Japenese and a US firm. Products are made either in highly automated EU factories or China. Who would invest money in a greenfield operation in the UK? Only for specialties maybe. Besides the quality of the China made product is as high as the German. It is a bit like the Triumph motorcycle, Aston Martin and to a much lesser extent Jaguar/Landrover. Iconic stuff, if well managed could be made in the UK too, heavily dependent on suppliers (from abroad) etc. Import substitution is really something Peronista from the fifties that Argentina tried and see where that got them.

    • NickC
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Dave, I once visited a non-ferrous foundry where the owner showed me a component that he sourced from China ready machined cheaper than he could cast it. China has injected deflation into the world for more than a decade now, and the EU has been useless at counteracting it.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      The problem I find is the very poor quality of most fitting now. Almost nothing is build to last anymore. Fitting and door furniture seems to be designed to use the minimum amount of metal (rarely actually real brass or copper now) or plastic and it falls to pieces, goes brittle or corrodes unpleasantly after a year or two. This even for expensive fittings. It is all appearance over function.

      Where a loo seat or a door catch used to last for a lifetime now many last for less than a couple of years.

      • alan jutson
        Posted January 11, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink


        Amazed that people actually choose to purchase the rectangular loo seats which seem in vogue at the moment in many Bathroom shops.

        Would have thought they would be uncomfortable.

        Round peg in a square hole springs to mind.

        Just shows there is a market for everything I suppose.

        Agree in general with your comment about poor design, quality and longevity.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      I like the way houses are often built in New Zealand with the outside wall built from breeze block which is often painted. Here we normally have the external walls internal wall (inner to the two walls with an air gap between them) built from breeze block and only the external walls (for cosmetic reasons) built from brick. They often build the internal dividing walls from solid breeze block too, instead of the thinest plasterboard on 2/4 wood frame possible in our current new builds. A much more honest approach, and a house which is cheaper to build and will last a lot longer. Internally they often just have plain breeze block walls painted too, which I actually grew to like, rather than the superficially pretty painted plaster we normally get on new build, again their approach is much more durable.

      I also hate the way councils often restrict the height of houses in planning permission forcing the builders to put a flat section of roof on what would otherwise have been a traditional fully tiled roof. A section which will need expensive repeated repairs compared to a traditional tiled roof.

  6. Duncan
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Barratt’s have just released their trading statement showing a very healthy new-builds environment. Indeed there are many trading updates this morning across all areas of the economy showing upgrades. Unfortunately…..

    What a shame it is to see wealth generating private sector companies being daily sacrificed on the altar of public sector waste and privilege by a PM who refuse’s to confront the unions and their political campaigns to extract blood money using threats and deliberate sabotage to contrive false crises

    If only we had a courageous PM with the right political and social values.

    • jerry
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      @Duncan; As someone was once reported to have said, almost 40 years ago … What Crisis?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 11, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        Or indeed the other day about the NHS – “crisis what crisis” – cancelling 50,000 + planned operations, having people dying in corridors while waiting for triage or people waiting hours for an ambulance after having a heart attack – all just fine any our usual winter arrangements.

        We do not charge so we just put people off and ration them this way instead!

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      Sorry @ Duncan but those private sector building companies are making money hand over fist from help to buy. This is a public sector initiative so the wealth generating private sector house builders are actually being fed the sacrificial lamb rather than being sacrificed.

      Should we discuss the Persimmon bonuses?

  7. jerry
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    “The long recovery from the pre banking crash levels is now well advanced.”

    Good news in its self but building levels were painfully low even then, what we need a 1950s style building program – we also need to stop thinking in terms of investment, there will be little point in further increasing the number of homes built if the average person can not afford to buy, and in some cases even rent.

    Perhaps if politicians and others started to use the word Homes rather than Houses it would stress the real point of such building projects and the need for them, something that has been lost in the last four decades?…

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      Actually @jerry we just need fewer people. Our own unemployed can make coffee.

      • jerry
        Posted January 12, 2018 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        @NS; I agree, they can also learn how to cut cabbages too, work in chilled environments etc. but are you going to tell the British youth (at schools, colleges and Uni) that they can no longer endeavour to reach their dream job, are you going to structure the unemployment laws so that claimants can be instructed to take a job (and would the employer want such people, you can make people turn up but you can’t make then work as required) – Jobs need to be filled, if our own native population refuse to fill such vacancies then employers will use migrant labour, or simply shut their doors.

        Anyhow, even without the more recent migrant arrival, in the last 20 years, there is still a shortage of homes in the UK, hence the increase in HMOs over the last 40 odd years.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted January 12, 2018 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

          Yes Jerry I will tell them

          I dispute there is a lack of homes even without uncontrolled immigration.

          • jerry
            Posted January 13, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

            @NS; So you are going to tell companies that they have to employ those who do not want to do such work, you are going to tell people were they should work, productivity would plummet…. It all sounds very like the old Warsaw block to me!

  8. MickN
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    The elephant in the room is still there John. If you allow your population to grow by 300,000 a year you can NEVER catch up and build enough houses to home them all. Until our “betters” come out of their denial and address this then anything else is futile.

    • MickN
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      I see that there are hosepipe bans for our area predicted for the summer. Can you inform the powers that be that our extra 300,000 people a year will all require water to drink, wash in and flush away their waste. It is not just the extra homes that are needed but schools, doctor’s surgeries, etc etc.

    • Chris
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Well said, MickN. This government is beyond hope. It seems to be wilfully ignorant and incompetent. The same applies to the NHS problems.

    • jerry
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      @MickN; Nonsense, if in 2018-22 the UK can not build 300,000 homes per year then we really are sunk as a first world country, the problem is that we had a dire housing shortage before, and because some do not want to see the value of their homes reduce (due to a surplus of supply) we have a NIMBY problem.

      Housing is the first of the social services. It is also one of the keys to increased productivity. Work, family life, health and education are all undermined by overcrowded homes. Therefore a Conservative and Unionist Government will give housing a priority second only to national defence. Our target remains 300,000 houses a year. There should be no reduction in the number of houses and flats built to let but more freedom must be given to the private builder. In a property-owning democracy, the more people who own their homes the better.

      That is a citation from the 1951 Conservative manifesto, when we had true Conservatism in the UK, if 300,000 was a realistic target in 1951 then with advances in building technology there is no reason why we can not build 500,000 plus homes each year…

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        We can build them but should we? What about the other infrastructure Jer? You know the stuff you come on here and regularly criticise for us not having.

        • jerry
          Posted January 12, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

          @NS; In the 1950s, under a Conservative govt., we did both, what is more builders made their fortunes from building, not necessarily selling new homes.

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted January 12, 2018 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

            And the infrastructure?

          • jerry
            Posted January 13, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

            @NS; Yes! Never heard of New Towns, whilst whole swaths of our blitzed cities were rebuilt too, and did we not build dams and nuclear power stations, BR built new marshalling yards and freight forwarding facilities and the list could go on, and on…

    • Miss Brandreth-Jones
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      sorry no speak English.

  9. stred
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    The building industry uses large quantities of aerated insulating block, which is used more as standards are raised. This is made using pulverised fuel ash and aluminium powder. We have made aluminium manufacture too expensive in the UK. Now the government has announced that coal will no longer be used in power stations unless with carbon capture. Despite competitions for carbon capture, no system has been made to work economically so far, as it uses too much energy. In the current lull in wind almost no electricity is being produced by wind or solar. Coal is producing 12% and fuel ash. Does the government realise what it is doing, or are we going to have to import from Germany again, where they have expanded coal fired electricity?

    • ian wragg
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      stred. There is no joined up thinking in government.
      They demonise diesel cars and wonder why there is a 15% drop in sales. They close cheap coal fired stations and run filthy STOR diesels to make up the shortfall.
      Then they agree to an outrageous subsidy for Hinckley Point for technology that doesn’t even work yet.

      • alan jutson
        Posted January 11, 2018 at 6:22 pm | Permalink


        They are now demonising Plastic because of wasteful packaging etc, etc..

        Rather than put thousands out of work at a stroke, why not simply legislate that all plastics have to be of a type that have to be recyclable.

        • jerry
          Posted January 12, 2018 at 11:04 am | Permalink

          @alan jutson; The problem is that even those plastics, even paper and card, that is fully recyclable are not being so even today – but at least paper and card (usually) does decompose, hence the wish to ban unnecessary plastics.

          What we need is a zero tolerance to litter, but that will need money to implement as you can’t expect people keep their locality clean without proper old fashion style household collections from bins, not plastic sacks on the side of the road, or a radical increase in the number and placement of public (street) rubbish bins together with their emptying – and that was another Thatcher era privatisation failure, street cleaning and refuge collection – not helped by the spread of take-away fast food & beverage…

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 11, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        Compete donkeys. Our energy policy is insane. More compete greencrap propaganda about how cheap wind is the other day. So why do they need such huge subsidies. It is not wind farming it is subsidy farming. Does anyone check they are not feeding electricity in from the grid or from generators so as to milk the wind or PV subsidies?

        I would not be at all surprised if some are.

    • NickC
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Stred, You ask, does the government realise what it is doing? The answer is, No. You can see that with the absurd hostage-to-fortune ban on the sale of ICE cars after 2040, with HS2 when we need undergrounds in big cities, and with its house building propaganda (supply) with no regard to the population rising by about quarter of a million migrants every year (demand).

    • jerry
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      @stred; Indeed and with the PM and DfFRA making unwise announcements it is going to get far worse that just a lack of Fly Ash.

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Now it seems that Bath is likely to be the first to introduce a new tourist hotel tax of £1 a day (doubtless to increase rapidly). Is the 20% VAT that tourists pay not enough already? This on top of the proposed plastic bag and coffee cup taxes. Pointless and expensive extra admin too for everyone. Every one pound the council collect will probably just reduce other tax take by about the same anyway.

    The government in the UK will clearly never be satisfied until all the taxes it take come to at least 100% of people’s income and even any money you do have is not yours to spend or give away freely. We must be getting very close now under the appalling Hammond.

    Income tax up to 45%, CGT 28% (on non real gains), IHT 40%, NI both circa 23%, vat 20%, insurance tax 12%, fuel tax 80%, alcohol tax 80%, road tax, tourist tax, congestion tax, landlord taxes on profits they have not even made, stamp duty (a tax on moving) at up to 15%, parking taxes, council tax, rates, lifetime transfer tax 20%, enveloped dwelling taxes, planning gain taxes, social housing taxes, bus lane mugging taxes ……

    Yet still they deliver a appalling NHS service and other “public services” of little, no or even a negative real value. Also a criminal justice system that has essentially given up on even investigating most crimes.

  11. Ian Wragg
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    There was a time when every town had a brickwork
    factory. These largely closed in the 80’s when procurement rules changed in the single market and continental firms bought out and closed them. Selling the land for development.
    There’s an excellent article in todays Telegraph by Allister Heath telling how if the PM colludes with Labour and the LimpDumbs to stay in the customs union the party will be destroyed.
    Hammond is indicating that he is willing to continue paying for access to the single market.
    We’ve been paying for 40 years and it has too stop.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Well, it would have to be secret collusion with the opposition parties when not only Theresa May and David Davis, but even Philip Hammond, have each publicly and categorically stated that we will be leaving the EU Customs Union:

      “The establishment of the EU Customs Union is set out in Article 28 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. As the UK will no longer be a Member State, or under the treaties once it leaves the EU, it will not be part of the EU’s Customs Union.”

      There is a certain amount of confusion, some deliberately created, because while it would not be possible for us to either stay in or rejoin the EU Customs Union once we have left the EU, it would then be possible to form an additional customs union between the UK (and any customs union that the UK may have formed with other territories) and the EU Customs Union.

      That would be an additional customs union, which like that between Turkey and the EU would be extraneous to the EU’s own Customs Union. It has to said again and again that Turkey is not actually part of the EU Customs Union, rather it has formed a customs union with the EU Customs Union.

      However we could not accept the restrictions on our trade policy which it seems would inevitably come with the kind of customs union that Turkey has with the EU Customs Union.

      “The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mel Stride)

      I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

      The Government have been clear that in leaving the European Union the UK will also leave its customs union, allowing us to establish and enhance our trading relationships with old allies and new friends around the world …

      Sir William Cash (Stone) (Con)

      Before my right hon. Friend gets deep into his analysis, may I ask him about the expression “a customs union” in clause 31, which, according to the explanatory notes, clearly includes the EU itself? Will he be kind enough to tell me, either now or later in his speech, what the distinction is between the customs union and other kinds of customs union mentioned in clause 31?

      Mel Stride

      Clause 31 makes provision for this country to enter into a customs union with another territory. That territory could be the existing customs union of the European Union after we have left the European Union, or it could be another territory separate from it. As he will know, such a move would be subject to a treaty and would not be entered into until a draft statutory instrument had been laid before the House and approved under the affirmative procedure, and then subsequently approved by Her Majesty as an Order in Council.”

  12. Bert Young
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    House building will never catch up with demand ; population growth is the reason . Some companies are more productive than others and some style of houses are easier and more economical to put together . At the middle and top end of the market it has almost stagnated due entirely to the level of stamp duty . The knock-on effect of more housing has to embrace a number of other factors so improving one of them is not the right approach .
    Perhaps all the new women brought into the ranks of Ministers will sort it all out ?.

  13. Anonymous
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Who cares about house building figures ?

    It is reckless if (like my area) mass building is going on without care for added services and infrastructure – in manifests itself in overcrowding and a dramatic drop in local quality of life.

    We were told it was for local need but in come the city overspillers. The crime rate has gone up and the place feels and looks less safe – a spate of graffiti is ruining the once beautiful town.

    Like transport, hospital bed shortages, wage depression… the problem of housing shortages has come since we opened the borders and increased the population dramatically.

    Just what is the point of UK government ?

    In the referendum I prefered to leave the EU but really, what I’m most disatisfied with is having two governments purporting to run us.

    We only need one. Staying in the UK and scrapping Westminster would be a very good second best. Westminster has done nothing but insult my intelligence – at least the EU hasn’t tried to do that.

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      “Staying in the *EU* and scrapping Westminster would be a very good second best.”

      Done it again !

      • Anonymous
        Posted January 11, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        I have new glasses – it’s the rims. Peripheral vision is important in proof reading.

  14. Andy
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Under 30s can still not get on the housing ladder because their grandparents are hoarding the nation’s wealth. If the Baby Boomers had behaved like a regular generation we would have seen wealth shift – but we have not. Instead the most selfish generation in history, has taken the riches for itself and shafted its children. History will be damning.

    We need nothing less than a Robin Hood tax on wealthy pensioners. Axe all of their old age perks for a start. You’ve had your whole lives to save up for that bus pass. Perhaps take one less holiday a year. Then we need to clampdown on second home ownership. Empty homes should be requisitioned for the homeless. We need rent controls. Minimum standards of acceptable housing – and proper punishments for landlords who do not provide them. These punishments should include fines, prisons and asset stripping in the worst cases.

    We need to get pensioners to downsize. A couple of old fuddy duddies rattling around in a couple of rooms of a 4 bedroom house are taking space a family urgently needs. Perhaps we need to use the tax system to force them out. The older generation has launched an unprovoked economic war on the young. We need to fight back.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Someone has something I haven’t – take it away….

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 8:16 pm | Permalink


      Do you like mass immigration with no upper limit ?

      We were sold it on the basis that the population was in decline – and until then *regular* generations could behave normally, in fact there was a slump in house prices (where they would have stayed) just before Blair.

      If there is a second referendum (as Farage suggests) it would be a good idea for you to keep your thoughts to yourself.

      You’re a great recruiting sergeant for the Brexit movement.

    • Edward2
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      Rarely have I heard such complete nonsense.
      Homes are available at reasonable rents all over the UK outside London and with record low interest rates homes in the Midlands and the North are loads of homes available for less than £150k
      Ageism is as bad as any discrimination in our community.
      Just change you awful abuse to read a name of another section of our society and if published you would be arrested.
      Shame on you Andy

    • zorro
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

      “If the Baby Boomers had behaved like a regular generation we would have seen wealth shift”….. Are you directing a modern day Logan’s Run?


    • zorro
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

      It’s OK Andy, we live in a nice two bedroom apartment now where the kids (well over 20) can stay when visiting and we holiday whenever we can. Hope that helps 🙂


  15. Shieldsman
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    We have been importing far too much of our building materials either because of foreign takeovers or energy costs.
    If we got rid of the stupid Climate Change Act and had a sensible energy policy, then Industries (not subsidy) costs would tumble.

  16. The Prangwizard
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    This is positive. We must indeed encourage home made to foreign made but we should also prefer home owned to foreign owned and then more of the cash created here would stay here and not be sent overseas.

  17. Anonymous
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Yay ! Big up the Persimmon boss and his £121m bonus. Funded by the taxpayer’s HTB scheme.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      Payments to directors of this size (for people who do not take financial risks) are not sensible. Shareholders need more powers to control remuneration levels through a some mechanisms.

    • Dennis
      Posted January 12, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Isn’t that bonus good for the taxpayer, if he pays tax. Treble all bonuses I say and retrieve the top rate of tax, whatever that is.

  18. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, a Labour politician whose party cleverly presided over a 6.3% drop in UK GDP during a period of just twelve months:

    is now telling us that if we leave the EU Single Market and the EU Customs Union then we could suffer a GDP loss equivalent to about half that over a period of a decade:

    “… nationally, the most damaging sort of Brexit would see economic output up to 3.3% lower in 2030 than would be the case with the status quo … ”

    That’s the “status quo” where we have no control over the volume of immigration from the rest of the EU, which by 2030 will have resumed its process of enlargement towards, and in fact beyond, the Urals:

    without any UK referendum on any of the enlargements because William Hague expressly excluded accession treaties from the scope of the European Union Act 2011, and with the population of the UK already projected to rise by maybe 8%.

    And he even boasts that he has obtained these ostensibly pretty dire, but actually in the correct perspective pretty marginal, but in any case pretty unreliable, predictions, by employing the same “economic experts” whose previous predictions have so far proved pretty worthless.

    No response from the Department for Exiting the European Union, of course.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      “A no-deal Brexit would risk 87,000 jobs in Britain’s capital … according to a new report … commissioned by London Mayor Sadiq Khan … ”

      “… the number of workforce jobs in London … reached 5.73 million in Q3 2016”

      87,000 divided by 5.73 million = 1.5%.

      • Andy
        Posted January 11, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        87,000 is a number. Behind each of those numbers is a real person – with a family, with a mortgage, with bills to pay – who will be out of work because you don’t like foreigners. Perhaps you should just deal with your prejudice?

        • Edward2
          Posted January 11, 2018 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

          87,000 is not an actual number Andy.
          It’s just a prediction.
          Project Fear in all its gory negativity.

          • Andy
            Posted January 11, 2018 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

            That is true. It might be much more. It might be less. It might be just 1. And that 1 might be you. Good luck.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 12, 2018 at 12:35 am | Permalink

          Andy, do you have any idea how many old jobs disappear and new jobs appear each year across the UK through the natural “churn” of the labour market? Of course you don’t, you don’t concern yourself with such boring facts, and so I will tell you that it’s about a quarter of all jobs each year. And that is not a problem, provided that jobs are being created at about the same or a greater rate.

          “Just over a quarter (28.0 per cent) of all jobs in the private sector were either destroyed or created over a typical 12 month period”

          “In total, therefore, around 5.2 million jobs in the UK economy were either created or destroyed each year between 1998 and 2008 …”

          So how long would it take for 1.5% of the present jobs to disappear through that “churn”, nothing to do with Brexit?

          1.5 divided by 28.0 divided by 2 multiplied by 365 = 40 days.

          And if those job losses corresponding to 40 days of natural labour market “churn” were spread over a decade, the predicted job losses would be equivalent to 4 days of “churn” each year.

          I have said again and again that the overall economic effects of our EU membership have been no more than marginal but are always grossly exaggerated by people like you who support the EU. Sadiq Kahn could have done simple arithmetic – the London jobs data is actually from the London Assembly – and easily discovered that his predictions didn’t amount to anything like a major economic impact, but instead he chose to shout his head off about the raw numbers without attempting to provide any context.

        • Original Richard
          Posted January 12, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

          The 87,000 jobs lost prediction is probably just the reduction in additional jobs from further immigration.

      • alan jutson
        Posted January 11, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink


        Yes so called independent report written by a Labour supporting organisation who get grants from the EU, see full details on Guido’s site.

        What a surprise, it knocks Brexit.

      • Diogenes
        Posted January 11, 2018 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        Total UK spending for 2018 (according to P. Hammond, nov.’17) £809 bn,
        Given annually by the UK to the EU, £12 bn, i.e. 1.5%
        Just to show that a percentage can be as small or as big as whoever wants it to be.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 12, 2018 at 12:41 am | Permalink

          The gross figure, and therefore percentage, are higher than that … but you are right, even the UK’s gross payments to the EU are of marginal economic importance, and I have never said differently.

  19. Epikouros
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    It is not surprising that more houses are being built and will continue to do so until the next recession and/or financial crisis. Both will occur if the business cycle follows its usual practice especially as we are riding an exceptional period of asset inflation which have reached dizzying highs on the back of QE. However Yellen like Gordon Brown before her says she has banished boom and bust. Like him I believe she is seeing fantasy not reality. However only time will tell and perhaps QE and low interest rates are the economic panacea (the holy grail that all central banks have been seeking). I doubt it somehow.

    In actuality without monetary stimulus and low interest rates we cannot have even the current modest increase in house building that we currently have given our ludicrous planning rules and regulations, subsidies and political interference. The bane of our economic and social lives; the good intentions (so called) of politicians, bureaucrats and vested interests all wishing to impose their vision of what should be done in the name of the public good. All nonsense of course as only the public/consumer know what is good for them and little of if is identical. So those who wish to impose their will have not a clue how to satisfy that good but the marketplace does. When it is free of ridiculous regulation and is left alone to decide how best to to supply demand.

  20. Mark
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Concrete and cement production has been driven abroad by carbon taxation. Of course, much the same amount of CO2 is produced when it is made elsewhere (1.25 tonnes per tonne of cement when coal is used as fuel), and even more when it is transported to the UK for use. Brick making is also energy intensive in the kilns, which is why so much has been imported from Germany, where industry’s energy use is subsidised.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Subsidized by whom? Evidence pse

    • Dick Tawphone
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      Germany has been quick in promoting factory-produced housing. We could do the same here. However, each attempt here produces rubbish.
      Firms are entertained by Local Authorities, with its heads knighted, produce the rubbish product, the LA pays them and then after a year or two issues arise about their construction—- surprise surprise the firms have gone bankrupt.

      The answer to many issues is for Local Authorities and their friends’ positions in associated Housing enterprises to be run into the dirt of history. They do not have potential for reform, even if we miraculously had a Central Government willing and capable of doing it.

  21. agricola
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Brick making is last centuries answer to house building. Factory production lines are the way to answer the house shortage problem as I have told you often enough in the past.

    Building houses only deals with the supply end of the problem hence you are always playing catch up, and not very successfully. You should be dealing with the demand end. Since 2008, population increase has been between 425,000 and 515,000 per annum. Of this around 300,000 per annum is due to immigration. This is where your problem has been for the last ten years but government has failed to wake up to the fact. To put it in more understandable terms, the City of Sheffield has a population of 553,00. It is approaching this figure that you are allowing the population to increase. For the reproductive balance of population increase I would look to cancel the financial hand outs that in part encourage it.

    • Hope
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Immigration is much higher. NI numbers over 800,000 compared to the unreliable estimates used by govt to con the public. In this age the govt should be able to count people in and out if not any other reason for our security and safety!

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      There are only two ways to manage demographics: decrease fertility or increase mortality. From the comments here people seem to be at an age where the former is the favoured option, while the latter would be undesirable from an ethics point of view but much better for productivity. Have you ever looked at what immigration has done for the age distribution in the UK? The envy of all other European countries..

      • agricola
        Posted January 11, 2018 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        The third way is to limit immigration. At a rate of a city the size of Sheffield every year it is unsustainable, even though they may be lovely people. The schools, hospitals, building industry can only cope by importing people to cater for the needs of the ones imported in previous years. This accelerating curve must be halted. If they are mostly young as you imply then consider what it is doing to their countries of origin, by depleting their talent base.

      • stred
        Posted January 12, 2018 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        Doesn’t reducing immigration count towards managing demographics? Can we keep importing younger people for ever, who then have more children than native females can afford, as they have to work to afford a home? Then in the end they get old and ill too and need the NHS. Your solution could have come from the UN migration unit.

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted January 12, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        An increasingly aging and retired population requires a similarly increasing base of working age taxpayers to fund the pensions, health and social care that many of that aging and retired population feel they should be given.

        The UK’s fertility rate is well below (about 10%) that needed to keep the working age taxpayer base in line with the growth in the old age population, so the only way any government can deliver the necessary growth in the working age taxpayer base is immigration.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 13, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

          Or, encouraging a higher birth rate among its own people.

          • Peter Parsons
            Posted January 13, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

            Indeed. That is an option, however it was a Conservative government that removed child benefit for higher earners and a Conservative government that capped child benefit at 2 children (when the birth rate required to maintain the population is an average of 2.2 per woman of child-bearing age).

  22. Derek Henry
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    What’s the point John ?

    May is on TV now and started her speech with we

    “Need to look after our debts and deficits so that it doesn’t get passed onto our grandchildren”

    What’s the point of Brexit John if they are just going to follow this gold standard tripe that is nothing more than lies and deceit as it does not describe fiat money at all ?

    There’s no grandchildren or tax payers in sight John when the BOE moves numbers on a spreadsheet from a reserve account to a gilt account that pays off the debt.

    The deficit is just everybody’s savings so if May wants to reduce the deficit via austerity. Then can we start off with her pension first please.

    Sure if people save too much that then increases the deficit then it can be a fiscal drag but please don’t lie anymore and tell people that household and foreign savings are causing a problem.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Only two ways to reduce the deficit: raise taxes or spend less, at least in the short term. In the long term: increase productivity, change the tax system for smarter collection, increase immigration by people of working age, cut NHS and social services. Simple but not easy..

  23. margaret
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I saw the photograph of yourself and Mrs May in front of newly built houses . Were these Persimmon homes ?

    Reply No

  24. fedupsoutherner
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Great stuff John and I see manufacturing is up too. We just need our ministers to realise we can make a good job of our economy out of the EU despite all the doom and gloom that has been made up and reported by the media.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      This says nothing about what Britain will be able to do post brexit. Still in the EU, bets are Brexit will be of the pretty painless kind.

      • stred
        Posted January 12, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        Painless so that we can keep ‘increasing immigration of working age’ presumably. The big business solution for cheap labour and eventual costs of housing, health, transport, education, passed to the taxpayer. Holland has the same problem of overcrowding. Why not tell them what to do and see how popular your ideas are.

  25. acorn
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    The ONS data IS seasonally adjusted for each quarter year. The problem bit is, as always; the amount of building materials and components that we have to import. £17 billion of imports (£9.6 b from the EU), against £7 billion of exports (£3.8 b to the EU).

    UK Gov: Monthly Statistics of Building Materials and Components

  26. fedupsoutherner
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Just go down to Sussex and you can see the new housing market is booming. Everywhere we go there are new builds and new homes on plans awaiting construction. Trouble is, there is no new infrastructure and the traffic is a nightmare now so God knows what it will be like with thousands more homes. The long awaited by-pass for Arundel is still being talked about and meanwhile the A27 is a nightmare. Hospitals have been closed down with no new ones planned. No wonder the south is becoming a nightmare place to live in. The north needs more investment, new jobs and then new homes. There will soon be no fields or woodland left in the south at the rate it is being taken up. A little bit here and a little bit there soon adds up and it will just be houses everywhere soon.

    • Prigger
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      Yes but the beauty of your area’s natural landscape is nothing to write home about is it.

    • stred
      Posted January 12, 2018 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      There are large potholes in the A27 between Worthing and Chichester. On the concrete based part large areas of tarmac have broken up. At the same time, the government can find money for speed rumble strips, speed reminders, bike friendly traffic lanes and lights and £40bn for Junker to build new roads in Romania and etc ed

  27. fedupsoutherner
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    OT. The crash on the M6 yesterday was a nightmare. We got caught up in it driving back from Sussex to Scotland. It made our journey 3 hours longer. There were no police to sort things out and no diversion signs anywhere. All the traffic was diverted along the A49 which consisted of a single lane and all through the towns and urban areas. It was dreadful but I do have thoughts for those caught up in the accident and for the driver who lost his life. A terrible business.

  28. Treacle
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    In my part of Scotland, attractive clean 2-bedroom flats can be had for under £50,000. But we don’t have any immigration. There is a link.

    • Soda water w lemon
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      You have just increased the price by £150,000. Shhhh

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted January 12, 2018 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      There are places in England where similar properties are available for those prices.

      Why? Look at the local economies in those areas. Look at the jobs and opportunities available. Look at the wage levels.

  29. Anonymous
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    An end to plastics.

    I recycle assiduously and pay a lot to do it. If I don’t I am punished.

    Britain’s contribution to Plastic Island is minimal.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      yes another nonsense bandwagon

      pushing up costs here, and our competitiveness down

      while the real massive polluters, India and China gain by carrying on doing things in the cheapest way possible with no care for the environment

      unilateral green virtue signalling does not help the environment, it just pushes work abroad, costs up here, and makes is harder for this country to compete

      • Anonymous
        Posted January 11, 2018 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        I wouldn’t mind but I used to shop at the local plastic-free butchers and the local plastic-free greengrocers but they made parking impossible (not green), so now I shop at the plastic-everything supermarket like everyone else.

  30. Mortar Bored
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    The Americans build houses , as we see, in tornado areas, in some cases made out of ticky-tacky. In my opinion, the thing about our housing…. taking in regard building regulations…continually updating specifications yet leaving time lapsing rules covering more than decade… is that parts of our houses are way too good, too elaborate, preparing for a blast from hell itself. But other parts and inter-relationships are straight out of a kids toy box. Naturally the strength of a house are its weakest links not the bold robust BRICKS indicating in only your mind STRENGTH.
    Our housing companies are dullards of enterprise. They have quite a captive group of ever multiplying customers with borrowing facilities far in advance of most countries, with added security of parents and grand parents with money and borrowing prospects of their own. But these companies,they are largely incompetent and only succeed where only a fool would not.

    No one government has its brain occupied with the totality of building regulations. There are one or two conservative MPs I have heard and seen who should be appointed to a special role other than that but in cooperation with of course that role occupied by the present Minister of Housing, to primarily concern himself with reviewing the massive century-long ( yes and even longer! ) housing regulations and bringing them up to date in one step….and reducing them massively
    Many local authorities are pretty much ignorant in this field. They have made redundant their best, many years ago and replaced them with Mr Nobody.
    But massive regulations impart cost with no holistic gain in safety.

  31. Iain Gill
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Come on John why no comment about the terrible low customer satisfaction figures with new build homes? Why no comment about the poor quality of new build we all know about? Why no comment about doing something to encourage improvement in standards?

  32. James neill
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    We all know that the price of housing is out of all proportions..government could have done something a long time ago to help with the slow down of costs but it didn’t, it wouldn’t and it won’t..not a labour government and not a tory every way the people are screwed..350000 pounds for a dog box of a three bedroom semi is a we have another example of political speak on the subject when JR ventures forth to dare discuss the matter..shsme shame on sll of the political class that has brought us to this..time for the real revolution..tnrow them all out

    • Mark B
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      One of the problems is that the government is hooked on Stamp Tax income. It needs people to keep buying.

      The only sensible solution is to cut government spending. Problem is the Fat Cat Corporations need these large projects to keep their balance sheets and share price healthy.

    • forthurst
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      The only way of replacing this lot is to introduce PR instead of FPTP and they know it. The liblabcon is well past its sell by date; none of them truly has a measurable constituency for their policies. Without the Referendum they would still be telling us the EU was the future and continue to lie about the direction of travel until each milestone had become a fait acompli; the few politicians with integrity sit on the back benches as powerless as the people to influence their destiny whilst a bunch of troughers and traitors sucking up to party funders rule the roost.

      • Edward2
        Posted January 12, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink

        PR not working well in Germany.
        Nearly four months since the election and still no government.

        • Original Richard
          Posted January 12, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

          Perhaps it is better for Germany that they have no government rather than one led by Mrs. Merkel.

          At last Mrs. Merkel is finally being brought to account for her illegal and disastrous immigration policy.

  33. Blue and Gold
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    If you buy a brand new house you MUST get a FULL structural survey completed. They are not the same sturdy houses of old. Take it from someone who once bought a new build.

  34. MikeP
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if the much-lauded manufacturing figures were based on 3-month to 3-month results? Either way it made a pleasant change to see the BBC and other media leading with a positive news story, albeit with the rider about Construction and explaining that our performance was entirely down to global growth rather than the inherent strength of the domestic economy as well as exporters taking advantage of favourable exchange rates.

  35. mancunius
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    A considerable factor in the attraction of UK high-value property for investors is the low tax regime. Park your £5m (few questions asked) in a quietly situated house or mansion flat, easily avoid the SDT via an 0ffshore company structure, leave it unoccupied for 20 years arranging for others to pay the relatively insignificant council tax, then cash in avoiding CGT.

    If you look round, we have one of the lowest tax, lowest scrutiny, least regulated property regimes in the western world. And that in a country where laws, property rights, infra structure and policing – all paid for not by the foreign buyer but by the the locals – ensure owner protection and public order, policing and trouble-free insurance.

    Just as with income tax, there is a competition for property tax jurisdictions. Ours makes it just too easy: we should impose a ten-year minimum ownership law and higher, unavoidable SDT for foreign non-resident or non-dom owners. (The Treasury talks about the latter, even announces what it ‘will’ do – but actually does little to implement it.)

    • mancunius
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      PS I also see nothing wrong with an annual land tax for foreign buyers – particularly if non-resident. I realize it’s difficult to compare accurately between tax regimes, but in Germany, for example, take a city such as Hamburg, the annual Grundsteuer on the owner of a property worth 200,000 is currently 3,780 euros.
      In London it is zero, and council tax (even Band G) is well below the proportional value of a property worth £2-5m

  36. Keith Peat
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 9:41 pm | Permalink


    In so far as I can I wish to make a complaint about the contributions of two commenters. Newmania and, latterly, Andy.

    Their comments about the aged amount to incitement to hatred. They take the form of rants without any basis in fact.

    It would not be tolerated of any other group and such thinking could well result in abuse, neglect and harm as bad as that inflicted on any racial minority and I’m quite sure it already has.

    Protection against hatred for the elderly may not be enshrined in law as for disability, religion, sexuality or race but it should be – especially as the elderly are often physically vulnerable.

  37. Cosmos small piece
    Posted January 12, 2018 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    The audience and much of the the personalities on BBC Question Time panel were thick.
    Also anti-free speech. Nor do they understand dark humour hyperbole though it is typically a British virtue.
    It is horrible. You go along in life thinking absolutely everyone knows what is being said between the lines, to cut a long story short, and then it suddenly dawns on you that you are in fact in a space suit floating through the galaxy and you only ever bump into an astronaut in a similar plight once in pink nebula. And you hate pink.

  38. Dennis
    Posted January 12, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Increased house building – just another policy like ignoring the big hole in your bath and fixing the problem by laying in more water pipes to keep the water level up (using other people’s water too as you don’t have your own adequate supply!)

  39. Original Richard
    Posted January 12, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    The country does not need a massive increase in house building.

    It needs a massive reduction in immigration.

    Housing alone is insufficient to cope with current immigration levels as we also need increases in the number of hospitals, GP surgeries, schools, roads, railways, car parks, reservoirs, retail and business premises, power stations, care homes, prisons etc. etc. etc.

    All to be built just to accommodate a massive population increase through immigration.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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