Housing starts drop a massive 24 per cent
New housing starts in England have fallen for the fifth quarter in a row, according to new figures from the Communities and Local Government department.
There were 21,540 starts in the three months to the end of June 2012, 10 per cent fewer than in the previous three months. The seasonally adjusted figures also revealed a 24 per cent drop in starts from the same period last year.
The number of starts has been in decline every quarter since January to March 2011, when there were 28,540.
Among housing associations, the drop has been even more severe. There were just 3,080 new homes started in the last quarter, down 23 per cent. The figure represents fewer than half the 6,450 housing association starts made in the first quarter of 2011.
Housing completions were also down in the three months to June. There were 29,470 completions during the period, down 6 per cent on the previous quarter but slightly up compared with the same period last year.
Communities and Local Government department figures published in May showed housing starts in England fell by 11 per cent from 27,240 homes in the last quarter of 2011 to 24,140 in the first quarter of 2012. Housing association starts went down from 5,010 to 3,950 - a 21 per cent drop.
Jack Dromey MP, Labour’s shadow housing minister, said: ‘These disappointing figures illustrate the disastrous consequences of the government’s failing economic and housing policies, which have ensured a collapse in house building and a sharp contraction in the construction industry, one of the main reasons Britain is back in recession.
‘The government should take urgent action by implementing a bank bonus tax to fund 25,000 affordable homes to put unemployed building workers back to work, create jobs and apprenticeships for young people and provide a boost to the construction industry.’
Homelessness charity Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb said: ‘These shocking figures make it impossible for the government to ignore the need for radical action to boost house building.
‘With a flatlining construction sector, building significant numbers of new, genuinely affordable homes would create jobs and stimulate the economy. More importantly, it would send a clear message to the millions of people priced out of homeownership or struggling with high housing costs that the government is on their side.’