Press release

Brexit must be a catalyst for beneficial change for consumers

17 November 2016
Speaking at the BSA’s Annual lunch, BSA Chairman, Dick Jenkins, outlined his views on Brexit and launched a new BSA housing report which recommends ten actions aimed at bringing new housebuilding technologies into the mainstream to help address the housing crisis.

On Brexit

The focus must now be firmly on the positives that leaving the European Union can and must bring the UK economy and especially UK consumers.

He said: “Having a more proportionate and appropriate legislative and regulatory framework, rather than a one size fits all EU Single Rulebook, will go a long way to firms delivering what UK consumers deserve, and give them the headroom to innovate and explore new markets.

“If we want a good Brexit it must be a catalyst for beneficial change for consumers. The whole process will be a marathon not a sprint, but it is vital that during the immensely complex negotiations our Government keeps the flexibility that will allow positive legislative and regulatory change once we have left.

”It’s crucial that the Great Repeal Bill does have the effect of saving all current EU legislation as we leave – not just some of it .  We can’t afford legislative chaos.” 

On the housing crisis

The problems relating to the housing crisis are well understood, we simply aren’t and currently can’t build enough homes to meet the demand from a growing and changing population.  At least 250,000 new homes need to be build each year just to keep pace and this isn’t happening. 

One way to tackle the gap is to grow the volume of homes constructed using modern methods of construction, a collective term which includes building techniques like offsite construction.  Such technology has been shown to work in Japan, where offsite construction accounts for 160,000 new homes a year and in Germany where 20% of new homes are built this way.

Dick Jenkins said: “We have an ambition to see this form of construction technology go mainstream.  Homes could be constructed more quickly and potentially more cheaply, without skimping on quality. But there are some barriers which we need to knock down first and we need the Government’s help to do it.  This kind of construction is a relatively unknown quantity for lenders, surveyors, insurers and a fair few builders too.

“Changing public perception is also crucial as these homes are nothing like the insubstantial and sometimes leaky post war prefabs.  They are robust, practical, architecturally interesting and have a low-energy footprint – saving the homeowner money on their energy bills.

“As a lender there are questions I want addressed before lending can be mainstream rather than by exception.  But given our existing expertise in the self-build market it makes sense for building societies to take a lead and with the recommendations in this report we are.   We are a sector that is willing to sensibly embrace things that are out of the ordinary.  Long may that continue.”
 
-Ends-

Notes to Editors:

A copy of the full speech can be viewed here.