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House Building

Volume 888: debated on Monday 17 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what is his assessment of the current level of capacity at which the house building industry is working; and what has been the effect to date of his proposals for maintaining and increasing the work load;(2) what is his estimate of the current trend in house starts in the private and public sectors, respectively.

There is no precise way of measuring the capacity of the house-building industry, but it is clear that in most places there is under-use, due largely to the steep fall in starts in the private sector which began in spring 1973. The disastrous trend in the public sector has now been reversed. Starts recovered sharply last year and increased tender approvals in 1974 should produce even more starts in 1975. In the private sector, the decline in starts seems to have levelled out and there are signs in the house-building figures published on 6th March that the various measures the Government have taken to bring about a recovery may be beginning to have the desired effect.