If local government acts quickly and decisively to clear the way for housing development, Britain can avoid a new recession, the Berkeley Group says today.
The comments come as Berkeley publishes a new report revealing the potential impact of housebuilding on the British economy.
The analysis by Ernst and Young revealed that the Berkeley Group supported more than £2.6bn of economic activity in the UK during 2012, a 25% increase over the previous year. This figure is more than twice the £1bn amount earmarked for the Government's Regional Growth Fund, which is expected to create and safeguard thousands of jobs.
This activity translates into a contribution of over £1bn to the UK's Gross Domestic Product, an increase of 16% compared with the prior year, at a time when the UK's GDP fell by over half a percentage point.
Rob Perrins, Managing Director of the Berkeley Group, said:
"If this is what Berkeley alone can deliver, just think what could be achieved nationally if we met the housing shortfall. Imagine the impact on the economy.
We have the capacity to invest 30% more over the coming year, providing Government creates the conditions for growth."
The report also found that Berkeley made a major contribution to job creation. In 2012 alone, the company supported 16,000 jobs in the UK, with each new home built by the developer sustaining 4.5 jobs.
"People need to recognise that all the jobs, homes and tax produced by Berkeley are the result of positive decisions by local councils. It's these local decisions that unlock national growth. And this is the big shift Britain needs to make in 2013. Whitehall needs to get alongside local government and help them make decisions quickly. We need Local Plans in place. Councillors involved early. And then companies like Berkeley can invest."
On average, 96% of developments by Berkeley are on brownfield land, transforming derelict or redundant sites into new communities. For example, Chelsea Bridge Wharf in south London, formerly a vacant car compound, has now been developed into a thriving neighbourhood with 1,128 homes and 186,000sq ft of commercial space.
Ernst & Young estimates that for every £1 investment by Berkeley in the regeneration of this site, £2.33 worth of economic activity was created in the UK. This one site alone supported 3,415 jobs on and off site, while generating £587m of economic activity across Britain.
Berkeley contributes significantly to the UK economy by attracting inward investment, providing affordable homes, and investing millions of pounds towards community facilities.
Between 2008 and 2012 Berkeley also:
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