The recent upheaval surrounding the Government’s Feed in Tariff for small scale renewable energy generation has added uncertainty into this marketplace. Is it now as appealing for housing associations to install potentially expensive technology, such as solar PV, on new builds, as it was just one year ago? Perhaps not, and testament to this are the number of micro generation schemes either shelved or put up for review recently by HA’s.
April saw the official announcement of a “double dip” recession, and the DCLG tells us that housing starts in England in the first quarter were 15% down on last year. So why are the housebuilders sounding so cheerful and what do their pronouncements mean for the materials producers and sellers?
It was originally billed as “consequential improvements”, part of the consultation document on revisions to Part L. Then someone labelled it The Conservatory Tax, discussed it with the national media and suddenly it’s a very public embarrassment for the Government, with the Prime Minister hastily distancing himself from the whole idea.
With the announcement in March of the New Buy initiative, the Government clearly signalled some active support for the housebuilding sector. Personally, I think New Buy is an excellent initiative (and one I have been advocating for the last three years) as it targets resources precisely where they are needed – at the new housing market. Let us not forget that the home building supply chain is a significant contributor to the UK economy – we estimate that each additional house start per annum generates 2.4 jobs.
The priority of economic policy in the UK for decades has been a focus on keeping the inflation rate under control. The most recent inflation figures (February 2012) point to a falling rate, although still well above the Bank of England target of 2%.