The Labour Manifesto, published yesterday (13 April), shows a welcome recognition of the economic and social importance of building more homes, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “By comparing this Labour manifesto with the last, you can see how far the debate on housing has come in the past five years. Although the Labour Party’s 2010 manifesto placed a clear emphasis on the importance of increasing home ownership and providing better, more affordable housing, this manifesto explicitly recognises that building more homes is the only route to achieving this. We also have a clear target of building 200,000 new homes a year by 2020.”

Mr Berry added: “I am particularly pleased to see the importance of small housebuilders being recognised – more active SME housebuilders will guarantee a healthier and more diverse housebuilding market. Labour has committed to improving the flow of finance to small housebuilders, which is crucial to achieving this.

“To its credit, the Manifesto also includes clear commitments on prioritising capital investment and reforming council house financing to enable the building of more social housing, which, even with expanding private sector building, may still be necessary to meet the 200,000 target. These are not new commitments, but we are pleased to see they have made it into the Labour Manifesto.”