Modular homes will ‘ruin the industry’

Prefabricated homes will “ruin the industry and deskill a generation” says a leading candidate in the race to become West Midlands mayor.

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West Midlands mayoral candidate Beverley Nielsen has said proposals to bring back modular homes to solve the housing crisis was wrong.

The Government is offering incentives to councils and developers to build 100,000 prefabs by the end of the decade.

Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid has visited prefab construction sites in Germany, while manufacturers in China and Russia are also believed to be looking to the UK.

If elected West Midlands mayor in May, Lib Dem Beverley Nielsen says she will oppose their reintroduction in the region.

She said: “I am calling upon the government to abandon plans to ‘rescue’ the UK housing shortage with prefabricated, imported buildings, because it will ruin an industry, de-skill a generation before they get their careers started and will fail to provide homes that people want to live in.

“Central Government is ignoring the impact of its housing policies on the West Midlands. Full of false promises. The truth is these ‘cheap’ houses will double our costs – exporting jobs, skills and investment.

“The West Midlands currently enjoys a return of £2.84 for every £1 invested in UK housing and that is because we make many construction materials in this region. That will change if the government insists we import prefabricated housing systems from places like Russia and China.

“People want masonry homes built to last 150 years not lightweight imports with a design life of 60 years.”

“It will also lose a golden opportunity to get generation of young people into a career in construction.”

She added: “Most politicians have little or no knowledge of the housing or construction industries and their meddling may well have many unintended consequences as we head for Brexit. This is one occasion where we should be putting local industry first.”

The Government will encourage lending for prefabs, or 21st century modular houses, to be built off site and put up quickly.

The industry says that construction materials have improved and these are much longer lasting than their 1940s predecessors.

They will be aimed at young people who are trying to gain a foothold on the housing ladder.

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