The Government’s ambition to build one million homes over the next five years must be backed up by a comprehensive housing strategy, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “The Government’s target to build at least one million homes over the next five years is a great step forward to help address the growing housing crisis.

“This equates to 200,000 homes a year which, although is still around 50,000 fewer each year than what is required to keep pace with demand, is a realistic increase on what is currently being delivered."

“What is needed now is a clear long term strategy for housing to underpin the new one million target.

“The strategy needs to address the barriers that prevent new housing being built such as the need to speed up the planning process and a commitment to ensure local authority planning departments are adequately resourced.

“The recently published ‘FMB House Builders’ Survey’ shows that the availability of suitable small sites is now the biggest barrier to SME house builders building more new homes and any strategy must properly address this issue.

“We urge the Government to take further steps towards empowering the smaller house builders which will play a crucial role in delivering the 200,000 homes a year target. Otherwise, the gap between what is needed and what is being delivered will remain considerable.”