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Redrow CEO says government is 'committed' to Help to Buy after record results

Redrow Homes CEO John Tutte has said the new communities secretary and housing minister are committed to Help to Buy.

Speaking to Construction News after the firm posted its third consecutive year of record results, chief executive John Tutte said he was “delighted” the government had reaffirmed its commitment to the scheme.

“There have been conversations with industry and I’ve been party to those,” he said.

“We were delighted that the new secretary of state and the housing minister very quickly got in touch with the industry, wanted to understand what the issues were – certainly wanted to understand what the post-Brexit position was.

“But at those meetings and subsequent meetings that I have had, they have reaffirmed their commitment to Help to Buy.”

Mr Tutte’s comments follow those by fellow housebuilder Bovis, whose CEO David Ritchie told Construction News in August that he wanted to see public commitment to Help to Buy from the prime minister.

Mr Tutte was speaking after the company posted a pre-tax profit of £250m and revenue of £1.38bn for the year to 30 June 2016.

Pre-tax profit was up by 23 per cent compared with a year earlier, while revenues were up 20 per cent from £1.15bn over the same period.

Completions increased by 17 per cent to reach 4,716, up from 4,022 a year earlier, which the company said was “spurred by Help to Buy”.

Redrow’s private order book ballooned by 54 per cent to reach £807m in its latest results, up from £524m last year – another record for the firm.

Sales in the first 10 weeks of the new financial year have been 8 per cent higher year on year, and Mr Tutte said he was confident the market would “continue as normal” despite the vote to leave the EU.

“It’s been very much business as normal, and that’s across the whole of the UK. There’s no real difference pre-Brexit and post-Brexit [vote].”

He added that, although the firm had seen “a small increase” in cancellations from investors after the vote, cancellation rates had “settled back down” and were now in line with a year earlier.

On the government’s commitment to regional devolution, Mr Tutte said it was “very early days” in terms of its effect on the market, adding that upcoming mayoral elections in the North-west could have an impact.

However, when asked about Labour mayoral candidate for Greater Manchester Andy Burnham’s pledge to use the region’s £300m housing fund for public housebuilding, he said Redrow was “not concerned”.

“There is a need for public housing and that’s the only way you’ll get housing numbers to increase in the UK, through a combination of private housebuilders working hard and an increase in the amount of public housing that’s being built,” he said.

”I’m not concerned about it; there’s enough land to go around and enough demand in the marketplace.”

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