British House Building Industry

Part of Uk Shared Prosperity Fund – in the House of Commons at 3:45 pm on 5th September 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Siobhain McDonagh Siobhain McDonagh Labour, Mitcham and Morden 3:45 pm, 5th September 2019

I think the hon. Gentleman has stolen the words of Mr Bacon, who also does loads of work on self-build. It is an issue that small and medium-sized builders have been squeezed out, but unfortunately I do not have time to address that matter today.

Let me return to the matter of pay ratios. At Barratt, the pay ratio between median executive pay and median construction worker pay is a disappointing 113:1. At Taylor Wimpey, it is an awful 126:1. At Berkeley, it is a shocking 331:1. But at Persimmon, it is an absolutely deplorable 1,561:1. Jeff Fairburn, in his final year of employment as chief executive of Persimmon, received more than £38.9 million, yet his average member of staff earnt £37,118. That was for technical staff. We do not know what the company’s subcontracted electricians, roofers or other wet tradesperson might have received. How can that be fair?

The vast scale of inequality looks even worse in the light of UK housing prices. Assuming that the average UK house price is £230,630—I assure the House that it is not possible to buy anything in my constituency or in the constituency of Joan Ryan for that price—and that the average UK construction worker saves 10% of their earnings to buy a house, it would take them 92 years to save up and 19 years just to save for the deposit alone. But the average FTSE 350 CEO could buy 28 houses outright in one year, 532 houses over 19 years—the years that the construction worker would be using to build a deposit—and 2,567 houses over the 92 years in which the construction worker would be saving up to afford their home. On no level can this be right or fair. It cannot be right for our society. It cannot be right for us as taxpayers. It is simply wrong. The system is broken. In the main, the market does not reward hard work, endeavour and meeting the housing need. In my view, it certainly should do.