Last updated: 21.01.16

Construction sector faces skills shortage

Skills shortages in the construction sector have left a record 475,647 homes in England unable to be built, despite them being given planning permission, according to new research.

The study, conducted by industry experts Glenigan - and commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA) - revealed that the number of unimplemented planning permissions in the year 2012/13 was 381,390 and in 2013/14 it was 443,265.

The research highlights a backlog that has continued to increase over the past few years, calling for an urgent need for councils to take action and invest in building more homes and work to address the skills shortage affecting the construction industry.

Councillor Peter Box, LGA housing spokesman, said: "These figures conclusively prove that the planning system is not a barrier to house building. In fact the opposite is true, councils are approving almost half a million more houses than are being built, and this gap is increasing.

"While private developers have a key role in solving our chronic housing shortage, they cannot build the 230,000 needed each year on their own. To tackle the new homes backlog and to get Britain building again, councils must have the power to invest in building new homes and to force developers to build homes more quickly."

In order for this to happen effectively, council leaders are requesting for the right to charge developers full council tax for every development that goes unbuilt from the point at which the original planning permission expires.

Mr Box went on to add that councils should be given a lead role in tackling the construction skills shortage - described as "one of the greatest barriers to building" - by working with businesses and colleges to create more jobs and apprenticeships.

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