A cross-party group of London Assembly members have urged Philip Hammond to support offsite manufacturing of new homes ahead of this week’s Budget.
Leader of the the Conservative group Gareth Bacon, leader of the Labour group Len Duvall, chair of the planning committee Nicky Gavron, chair of the housing committee Sian Berry, deputy chair of the housing and planning committees Andrew Boff and Liberal Democrat Londonwide assembly leader Caroline Pidgeon have all signed a letter to the chancellor, which calls for “significant investment” to support the emergence of the sector.
The letter said modular could be part of the solution to “fixing the broken housing market”, and that land and planning measures could also be used to accelerate its delivery.
“In order to reap the benefits of [off-site manufacturing] and move one step closer to fixing our broken housing market, investment in this method of construction must generate scale at both a national and local level,” it read. “We respectfully urge you to commit to showing suitable support for OSM and promoting this across London in order to see a real solution to our housing crisis that is squarely focused on addressing supply-side factors.”
It also referenced last year’s review of the construction industry by chief executive of Cast Mark Farmer, which concluded that the sector must “modernise or die”.
Commenting on the letter, Farmer said: “Officials at the Treasury need to get their heads around this and put concrete measures in place to create truly additional capacity - not simply ‘move deck chairs around on the Titanic’. The only way of doing this, which allows more output delivered at a better quality at a cheaper price, is to change the way we build homes.”