Looking recently through a pile of cuttings relating to house building statistics, I came across a report of a parliamentary question posed to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, answered on 22 June this year.
Labour shadow minister for housing, John Healey, had asked what estimate had been made of the number of jobs created and supported for each £1 million of expenditure on new build housing in the latest period for which figures were available.
The answer was very illuminating in these days of budget cuts.
Housing minister Grant Shapps said his department has estimated that, in 2009, every £1 million of expenditure in new build housing supported 11 net jobs for a year. The figure takes account of direct jobs supported in the house building industry and indirect (supply chain) jobs. It also takes account of displacement effects, where increased spending on housing building takes investment (and associated jobs) away from other parts of the economy.
Let’s all hope the government bears this fully in mind when examining where its knife will fall directly on UK housing projects and indirectly in its efforts to stimulate investment by the private sector.