Annual housing supply in England amounted to 217,350 net additional dwellings in 2016-17, the highest number since 2007-08. The Government’s ambition is to increase this to 300,000 net additional dwellings by the mid-2020s.
Currently, around 2.2m workers are engaged in the construction sector. The construction workforce is flexible, with a high degree of movement between different subsectors, including into and out of house building. The recently announced Construction Sector Deal aims to deliver a step change in productivity by increasing the use of digital and offsite manufacturing technologies, including in house building. These variables – flows of workers and productivity – mean it is not possible to accurately assess the additional workforce that may be necessary to meet Government house building ambitions several years hence.
We are working closely with industry and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to keep construction skills needs under review and ensure these are met. In addition, a £34m fund for construction skills was announced in the Budget, as part of the National Retraining Scheme. The fund will help to build construction training facilities attached to housing developments, and will support adult students to retrain as construction workers.