My Intervention on the Building Safety Debate to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – New Construction Companies

Building Safety Debate – 30 January 2023

John Redwood

(Wokingham) (Con):
What actions will the Government take to make it more likely that people will set up new construction companies and grow smaller companies, since we clearly need more capacity and more competition to get high-quality work done?

Michael Gove
The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities:

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right, and many of the provisions in the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill are designed explicitly to aid the entry of new small and medium-sized enterprises into the construction sector. Many of those provisions follow on from the excellent work of my hon. Friend the Member for South Norfolk (Mr Bacon), who as a champion of self and custom builders has done more than anyone else in this House to help to ensure diversification in housing supply.


  1. glen cullen
    January 31, 2023

    SirJ – before anything is suggested or done, could we have a clear government defination on ‘levelling-up’

  2. agricola
    January 31, 2023

    A key element in the current housing crisis is the quality of the jobsworths that occupy our local planning departments. They have the vision of Albert Speer, not a Frank Lloyd Wright anywhere to be seen.
    They, over the last 100 years, have presided over the most catastrophic creation of housing and associated ammenities imaginable. Ugly buildings for the sake of conformity, grotesque standards of construction, mindsets against innovation, a collection individuals lacking a creative gene between them, just the damp controlling dishcloth of bureaurocracy. Best got rid of.

    1. formula57
      January 31, 2023

      @ agricola – do not overlook Speer’s work to plan the city of Germania, with huge dome included. That did not lack for vision and he had a demanding client.

  3. ChrisS
    January 31, 2023

    For more than 20 years we operated as a small developer and in that time we built 7 new houses, a block of 36 flats and carried out several total refurbishments to properties we bought and subsequently sold. All were designed to a high standard by properly qualified architects.

    Unfortunately it is now almost impossible to acquire a plot for a reasonable amount of money : since the advent of Grand Designs on TV, everyone thinks they can be a developer ! Plots frequently change hands for amounts of money that an experienced developer knows cannot possibly be sold on at a profit. Also, the poor service from planning departments has deteriorated markedly since 2019. In our area, planning officers all work from home and cannot be persuaded to visit a site ! That makes the whole thing much more difficult.

    What is needed is for councils to specify that a percentage of plots granted planning permission must be sold to small, local developers. I would suggest 50%. That will break up the monopoly enjoyed by the big builders and it is certainly the case that small builders contruct homes to a much higher standard, using traditional materials, and to much more attractive, individual designs.

    1. a-tracy
      February 1, 2023

      I also think Housing Association properties that are going to the dogs (one near me is a row of shops with empty boarded-up properties over; there is land there that is prone to vandalism and litter, and it could be made into a lovely retirement complex with shops on the ground floor, they should be put out to tender to small local construction companies only, moving the elderly three-bedroomed council householders into nice new purpose created apartments would free up family homes for British people that have been on the lists for over eight years and more.

      One of the shops could be made into a HA meeting area so that a local bungalow could be freed back up for a home. The problem with HAs is they don’t build and invest in new properties all the money is taken in running costs even though their estate was bought for buttons and their rents are largely supported by housing benefits.

  4. formula57
    January 31, 2023

    Yet another Minister who is in agreement with you!

    Will it be sufficient only to include “provisions … to aid the entry of new small and medium-sized enterprises into the construction sector” or ought not changes to the law be complemented by direct measures, perhaps through local enterprise boards etc.?

  5. Lindsay McDougall
    January 31, 2023

    It is also important that new houses are not built on flood plains, so we also need to ensure that suitable land is available for house building. One way of doing this is to remove the cap on Council Tax, which the banding system does. The top band, band H, stretches upwards to infinity. The result is that the landed aristocracy, including the monarchy, is protected at the expense of the upper middle classes and others. If we were to make Council Tax payable on the entire property value without limit, a lot of the large estates owned by people without the means to exploit the land or maintain the full property, would be broken up and sold or sold whole to people who could exploit them. These would include house builders.

  6. Mickey Taking
    January 31, 2023

    Why would we need more construction companies? Oh. of course – to build more hotels for the illegals.

    1. glen cullen
      January 31, 2023

      Tory mantra – ”Build Back ‘Homes-for-Illegals’ Better”

  7. RDM
    February 1, 2023

    “self and custom builders”

    But, this gives people the flexibility to find a plot of land on a mountain side somewhere!
    With planning for one house, unless they can prove it is sustainable for more?
    These people would have no no hope of owning their own home, otherwise!
    Self build Log Cabins, etc,…
    I know it the only chance I will have!

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