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Builder Redrow says government housing plan lacks detail
February 8, 2017 / 9:06 AM / 7 months ago

Builder Redrow says government housing plan lacks detail

The company logo of construction company Redrow is pictured on a flag at a new housing development near Manchester northern England, April 7, 2016. REUTERS/Phil Noble

LONDON (Reuters) - One of Britain’s biggest builders Redrow (RDW.L) said on Wednesday a government policy white paper designed to tackle the growing housing crisis by helping renters and building more homes lacks detail in several areas.

Britain set out plans on Tuesday to make renting more affordable and punish developers for not building quickly enough, in an effort to boost housebuilding, which has failed to keep up with demand for decades.

But Redrow, which posted a record first-half profit of 140 million pounds ($175 million) in results published on Wednesday, said several aspects of the plan needed to be fleshed out.

“I guess the disappointment in the paper is that it talks about a lot of things but it’s a little bit light on detail as to how these things will be imposed,” Chief Executive John Tutte told reporters.

“(On) local authorities: it’s putting them under pressure to put their plans in place, it sort of hints at what the penalties might be, but it’s not actually specific on them ... it’s more a consultation paper than it is a prelude to a bill,” he said.

Britain wants to boost the number of new homes coming onto the market in England from 190,000 units a year to at least 250,000, but some builders are concerned that any limits on immigration imposed following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union could limit their ability to boost supply.

The industry has long found it difficult to fill all the skilled positions it requires domestically and on some London building sites more than half of construction workers are from the European Union.

“You can see with the output that the industry is expected to increase to over the coming years that actually it could struggle with skills, particularly if we lose a lot of foreign labour,” Tutte said.

($1 = 0.8002 pounds)

Reporting by Costas Pitas, editing by Louise Heavens

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