My Intervention in the Building Safety debate

John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con):
Given the shortage of capacity, what steps are the Government taking to encourage more businesses and people to come forward to provide good-quality building and construction work?

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities:
My right hon. Friend makes an important point. We need to ensure that we have in the development sector, and indeed in the building safety sector, a range of companies and actors determined to do the right thing. Some of the changes that we are making—to the national planning policy framework, for example, and other steps that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor will announce in due course—are designed to ensure that we have a diverse and energetic private sector market helping consumers and leaseholders.


  1. Javelin
    March 17, 2023

    I would like you to consider the issue of England becoming Balkanized by the ULEZ zone.

    Supposing Surrey or Wales or Scotland were to start charging motorists to drive into their area.

    1. Berkshire Alan
      March 17, 2023

      Javelin a good point.
      So many Cities and Towns are talking about ULEZ areas at the moment.
      The problem is that many have differing criteria requirements, which leads to total and utter confusion, one of our cars is exempt in Bath, Portsmouth and other areas, but chargeable in Bristol, and banned in Oxford, in some areas it is not even a daily charge, but a charge each time you enter the Zone, leading to possible multiple charges for the same day !
      All to simply raise money, because they appear to be happy for you to pollute the air if you can afford it !
      Total confusion all round, why not all have the same standards if we are to have such Zones, which in my view become increasingly less needed as the Pollutants from all vehicles is becoming less and less each year due to improvements in technology !.
      ULEZ’s Simply introduced for financial gain in my view.

    2. Lifelogic
      March 17, 2023

      So what does socialist Gove know about doing the right thing he even takes advise from deluded Greta school girl Greta. The man is the enemy of landlords and indirectly of tenants by killing property supply he even thinks putting VAT on private school fees is a good plan like bonkers Starmer. It would kill fair competition, make private school users pay four times over or give up, kill many good schools, kill freedom and choice for many and cost far more for the state as people left private schools or educated overseas.

    3. glen cullen
      March 17, 2023

      What’s the point of car tax

  2. oldwulf
    March 17, 2023

    Question: “…what steps are the Government taking…”

    Answer: “I’m not telling you.”

    1. Timaction
      March 17, 2023

      Gove” a diverse and energetic private sector” being taxed at 25% who are going to relocate to Ireland where they pay just 12.5%. Astra Zeneca are just one of many. More immigration to ” NORMALISE” at net 250,000. That’s way over 500,000. Any questions on health waiting lists for English people? Education places? More rising taxes to pay for minimum wage immigrant workers but we’ll need new houses for them. English families can wait. How many Albanian safe Country people has your Government removed this week Sir John? Provide tents and not 4* Hotels at ours, the 46% expense. I do not owe the boat people anything. You’ve already robbed taxes from us with your ridiculous foreign aid. Just how much do you fools in Westminster think we can tolerate? Go. Just take the rest of you woksters fools with you.

    2. Nottingham Lad Himself
      March 17, 2023

      What steps are they taking to reverse the damage done by the ERG’s absolutist brexit?

      It’s a bit of a cheeky question really, isn’t it?

  3. Mickey Taking
    March 17, 2023

    How does the response help to ‘provide good-quality building and construction work?’

    More rules to load onto builders.?

    1. Ian B
      March 17, 2023

      @Mickey Taking +1

      Remove the old first.

  4. Margaret Campbell-White
    March 17, 2023

    Start with apprenticeships!. As with the medical profession, we need to train more of our own skilled workers.

  5. jerry
    March 17, 2023

    Might I suggest, if we want more future builders, we relearn a lesson or two from the old Secondary Modern and Tech schools of old, teach (at least some of) the building trades as core compulsory subjects and then as options for examination? Space can surely be found in the National Curriculum, cut the woke out, or dear I suggest extend the secondary school day by an hour.

  6. Ian B
    March 17, 2023

    Building happens when money can be made. Land with planning approved has more value than land without. Land with planning also derives it value from the facilities(infrastructure) that feed it, this is then funded primarily from local taxes. The same local taxes building companies are not equally contributing to.

    All sound building companies have ‘land banks’, generally stated as at least 10 years of forward work, it is seen as money in the bank. But, business wise there is no point in building on it in volatile market times, so you dont – your profits cant be maximised.

    Logic, if land with approved planning is not contributing to the community with taxes but gaining in value, the system has a flaw. To bring building forward just requires those with approved planning to start/complete work within say 3 years(10years is just to long) if not they need to be contributing to the same tax pot that is increasing the value of their investment.

    1. jerry
      March 18, 2023

      @Ian B; Your final paragraph makes no sense, all your idea will do is delay planning applications, not necessarily the purchase of land and its banking. Don’t even think about taxing possible building land, anyone with an accessible garden big enough to put a one bed bungalow on will have nightmares!

  7. Ian B
    March 17, 2023

    “Building Safety debate” – the horror that was ‘Grenfell’ was simply the use of an unapproved product, because it was cheap, then signing it off on a self approval basis by the Contractor and their paymaster.

    With this big catastrophe it was the taxpayer that has had to pay, the responsible parties got to just walk.

  8. Ian B
    March 17, 2023

    Some of the nonsense of energy problems etc. we have with buildings is bad design. From the inside looking out I can say this bad design is predicated by so-called trade organisations calling the shots with Government on what ‘they’ want, not what people needed from a building.

    I would guess, the maximising of profits is placed before maximising usability. Since the early 1980’s it had been worked out scientifically by a US physicist, how to build a “passive house.” Meaning homes could be built with a very small footprint of energy use, as the title implies, as completely passive units.

    This generally has not been taken up in the UK, not because of cost, its not really a cost situation its just a different set of entities that profit as opposed to the established older dictators of the trade bodies. The irony being that most of those that call the shots in UK trade bodies are not UK based but are just companies that derive profits within the UK – the double irony, they couldn’t get away with their demands in their home Countries.

    The UK is now between a rock and a hard place because of successive Government ineptitude. If only they talked to the BRE and not the vested interest of so-called trade bodies. As one example everyone is now finding out ‘AirSource’ heat pumps don’t full-fill the objectives in the UK all down to house design in the past.

  9. Ian B
    March 17, 2023

    State of the Building market with a Snapshot from market Reseach

    ‘New project starts are down 20%. But, detailed planning applications, always a reliable indicator of what pipeline we can expect in the year ahead, are still very strong. In fact, they’re higher now than they were pre-pandemic.’
    ‘Total value sales data from Britain’s Builders’ Merchants shows Q4 2022 recorded +2.9% year-on-year growth, with sales for October to December 2022 were +24.4% higher than the same months three years ago

    Draw your own conclusion

  10. Berkshire Alan
    March 17, 2023

    Thought our Chancellor was giving priority to immigrants who are builders, or who say they are builders (any proof, qualifications required, guess not)
    We need sensible training schemes in this Country to encourage our own, and since many in the construction industry are self employed, then IR35 needs to be revised to encourage more people, (not discourage as at present) to help fill those spaces.

    1. Mickey Taking
      March 18, 2023

      young fit men who can carry bricks and bags of cement. Certain to improve building standards.

  11. mancunius
    March 17, 2023

    “a range of companies and actors determined to do the right thing…helping consumers and leaseholders”
    Ah, and Mr Gove is the arbiter of who to include in ‘the range of companies’ and of what ‘the right thing’ is, is he?
    And he clearly has the ambition (one that horrified Ronald Reagan) to ‘help’.
    I hadn’t realized that building had been nationalized under the Tories. Nor that they had so entirely adopted the language of New Labour – along with their politics.

  12. Bloke
    March 17, 2023

    Buildings would be safer if fewer criminals were allowed to roam freely on our streets.

    1. Fedupsouthener
      March 17, 2023

      Bloke. Fat chance. There are more every day.

  13. XY
    March 18, 2023

    Haha, it would be funny if it were not so laughable. IR35 is doing the exact opposite of “ensuring” any such thing.

  14. Original Richard
    March 18, 2023

    Professor Christensen of Newcastle University believes that no Li-ion batteries should be allowed indoors in any buildings. These batteries do not have to undergo physical abuse to cause an explosive fire, it can just happen through exposure to high humidity and Common Mode Voltage (Noise) and the vapour cloud of a runaway fire can contain hydrogen fluoride, hydrogen chloride and hydrogen cyanide, all very nasty.

    To watch a video of Professor Christensen warning of the dangers Google “pv magazine Insight Australia 2021 Part 1” and start at 1:01

    1. hefner
      March 19, 2023

      Hee hee hee, the recent range of cordless garden ‘appliances’ (leaf blower, lawn mower, hedge cutter, …), all sorts of cordless DIY tools, your Samsung, Apple, HTC, Motorola or Google mobile phone and/or tablet are likely to have some Li-ion batteries.

      Prof. Christensen, in his lab experiment, damaged the batteries to study how likely and quickly they would burst into flames. Indeed when damaged, batteries could start a fire.
      Problems in recycling centres have been documented at least since 2020, usually because people do not sort out batteries from the rest of their stuff. It happened at the Smallmead recycling centre in Reading a couple of times, last one I found on 08/12/2022.

      It does not happen all of a sudden, the device becomes hotter and hotter before bursting into flames. And BTW that’s why before taking off, with the inflight security announcement about seat belt and life jacket, there is now an additional one about electronic devices becoming hot.

      So nothing really new in your panicked comment, this has been known for at least five years … but maybe the Express only had it in the last few days on its website?

  15. Lindsay McDougall
    March 19, 2023

    When are we going to have a population, immigration and housing policy so that we can, after a few years, concentrate on building better – well insulate – houses to replace poor existing stock? We should move rapidly to a UK policy of zero population growth.

  16. Yossarion
    March 20, 2023

    When I worked in a Drawing office We would send of samples to be approved by the local authority whether it be Planning or if over 20 square metrers Building control, Gove the one who go rid of English Votes on English law with no mandate to do so and who cant get elected in His own Country possibly aint the right person to be at the helm.
    The government has never publicly confirmed the number of hotels involved, but a government source told BBC News it is now using 395 to accommodate more than 51,000 asylum seekers, at a cost of more than £6m a day.

    Of those hotels, 363 are in England, 20 in Northern Ireland, 10 in Scotland and two in Wales.

    It means Northern Ireland and England have far more hotels housing asylum seekers per head of population than Scotland and Wales.
    Looks like the Barnett Formula only works when paying out English Taxes to the Cackling Celts.

    The use of hotels has increased exponentially as the number of people claiming asylum in the UK has increased, reaching a near 20-year high last year.

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