Two different policy proposals to boost housebuilding, announced by the Government and Labour Opposition, have triggered a reaction from the Mineral Products Association (MPA).
Following reports of a significant Labour policy proposal on new towns, the MPA has written to the Shadow Planning Minister, Matthew Pennycook MP. This comes at the same time as the Government announces plans to scrap the Nutrient Neutrality restrictions on housebuilding.
The underlying message from both Government and the Opposition is that they are ready to support the delivery of new homes, but neither has recognised the importance of the construction supply chain in realising their housing ambitions.
In the letter, Robert McIlveen, MPA’s Director of Public Affairs, stressed the key issues faced by producers of mineral products like aggregates, concrete and asphalt. His letter points out that these materials literally form the foundations for all new building work:
“Infrastructure, housing, and the new workplaces, schools and hospitals your plan implies will be delivered, all rely on mineral products for construction, including concrete – and its ingredients aggregates and cement – mortar, stone, and asphalt for roads, pavements and cycle paths. This supply chain is often taken for granted, despite being the largest material flow in the economy, and faces a longstanding challenge in replenishment rates for permitted reserves, particularly for sand and gravel. Since 2010 there has been much less strategic planning which has led to this situation.”
Mr McIlveen goes on to highlight the findings of two recent MPA publications:
- The Annual Mineral Planning Survey, the most recent of which found that for every 100 tonnes of sand and gravel extracted, only 63 tonnes are permitted for future extraction;
- The recent paper setting out scenarios to 2035 for aggregates demand showing a significant increase in the need for aggregates and the options to meet that need.
“MPA is keen to engage all parties and so Labour’s announcement is a good opportunity to remind them of the role the sector plays,” said Mr McIlveen. “As they develop their policy proposals ahead of the next General Election, we are determined to ensure they understand the challenges the sector faces and the ramifications of assuming a supply of essential materials.”
Aurelie Delannoy, MPA’s Director of Economic Affairs, added: “As key suppliers to the construction sector, including for housebuilding, manufacturers of mineral products will welcome the nutrient neutrality changes. But near-term, the knock-on effect of a weak macroeconomic background, rising interest rates and subdued housing demand are a much greater problem, which neither Labour’s plans, nor the Government’s changes to UK environmental rules will help with.”
About the Mineral Products Association:
The Mineral Products Association (MPA) is the trade association for the aggregates, asphalt, cement, concrete, dimension stone, lime, mortar and industrial sand industries. With the merger of British Precast, and affiliation of the British Association of Reinforcement (BAR), the British Calcium Carbonate Federation, the Cement Admixtures Association (CAA), CONSTRUCT, Eurobitume, MPA Northern Ireland, MPA Scotland and the UK Quality Ash Association (UKQAA), it has a growing membership of 520 companies and is the sectoral voice for mineral products. MPA membership is made up of the vast majority of independent SME quarrying companies throughout the UK, as well as the 9 major international and global companies. It covers 100% of UK cement and lime production, 90% of GB aggregates production, 95% of asphalt and over 70% of ready-mixed concrete and precast concrete production. In 2018, the industry supplied £16 billion worth of materials and services to the Economy. It is also the largest supplier to the construction industry, which had annual output valued at £172 billion in 2018. Industry production represents the largest materials flow in the UK economy and is also one of the largest manufacturing sectors.
For media enquiries, contact Robert McIlveen at: Robert.McIlveen@mineralproducts.org