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Barratt boss: Tackle housing the same way as infrastructure

The boss of housebuilder Barratt has urged the government to take a more long-term view on boosting housing supply. 

Speaking to Construction News today following a Q1 trading update, Barratt chief executive David Thomas called for cross-party consultation on housebuilding along with a long-term approach to supply and demand. 

“Housing supply is an absolute fundamental in the UK,” he said.

“If we’re going to take a long-term view on infrastructure then my preference is that housebuilding is considered part of infrastructure.”

He was speaking to CN as Barratt reported year-on-year growth in total forward sales of 8.4 per cent between July and November to £2.9bn.

The company said it expected to see ”modest growth” in 2018.

Mr Thomas added: “If you look at the government’s approach to the construction of motorways, they are taking in to account traffic estimates for the next five years, 10 years, 20 years.

“Housing should be the same [in] the way we allocate land and the way we seek to deliver housing numbers; that will give a better continuity of supply.

“The proposal is that there will be cross-party consultation on infrastructure; I’d welcome housing being included within that.”

However, Mr Thomas acknowledged some progress had been made. 

“The fact that we have a commitment to Help to Buy through to 2021 is starting to underline the fact that people are thinking about things on a longer-term basis,” he added. 

Last month, Barratt exited a £6bn development deal with Enfield council with the authority branding the firm’s terms “unacceptable”.

Shares in Barratt are currently trading down 0.7 per cent at 624p. 

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