Sajid Javid announced that the number of houses built in England had increased from 189,650 in 2015/16 to 217,000 in 2016/17.

The communities secretary also delivered a stern warning to councils without adopted local plans and revealed that housing associations will be reclassified as private sector organisations.

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) has always asserted that the country must build at least 300,000 new homes each year to address the housing crisis. While the new statistics are certainly welcome, only 183,570 out of 217,000 properties delivered in England were newly-built homes. This number is not just lower than the 300,000 we need to solve the housing supply challenge, but also misses the Government’s own target of 250,000 new homes a year.

The NFB believes that the Government’s decision to reclassify housing associations as private sector entities does nothing to fix the broken housing market, especially for those people who do not qualify for social housing because they earn enough money but – at the same time – are priced out of the private market.

Richard Beresford, Chief Executive of the NFB, said: ”While the increased number of houses built is a positive step, and the secretary’s call for action on councils without adopted local plans is appreciated, the Government needs to do more to enable SMEs as part of the solution to the housing crisis. SMEs make up 99% of the industry and train and retain two-thirds of construction apprentices.

“Only by fully engaging with SMEs at a local level can the Government succeed in helping councils adopt local plans that will adequately address the housing supply crisis in this country.”