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Housing minister hails help to buy bricks

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Housing minister hails help to buy bricks

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Development

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The housing minister has hailed the government's help to buy scheme for creating a surge of business for the construction sector.

During a visit to a new brick factory in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Kris Hopkins MP claimed the scheme was keeping kilns firing over Christmas for the first time since 2007.

The brick industry says production is rising after several slow years since 2008's financial crash, which is largely because of the rapid increase in construction as a result of help to buy.

Around 1.73 billion bricks are expected to be produced in 2013, enough to go nine times round the earth.

By the end of July deliveries of new bricks were up 12% on the previous year. This was despite a 12% fall in the year to March after three months of cold weather slowed production to a trickle.

Eight out of 10 bricks manufactured in the UK are for housebuilding.

The Chesterton factory Hopkins visited yesterday is owned and run by Ibstock Brick, the UK’s largest brick maker with 20 factories across the country. The extra demand has prompted the firm to reopen a factory in Leicester that closed in 2008.

Hopkins said: "Help to buy has not only helped thousands of hard working families get on the housing ladder, it's also laid the foundations for a recovery in housebuilding, and confounded the critics who claimed it would have no impact on the supply of new homes.

"It's been great to see Ibstock's state-of-the-art factory and meet with workers who are ramping up production and, for the first time in years, keeping the factory running over the Christmas period to catch up with orders and help get Britain building again."

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Buiders Federation, said: “Help to buy is driving a big increase in house building activity. If people can buy, builders will build. Existing sites are being built out quicker and developers are looking to start on new ones sooner. As a result there is an increased demand for labour and materials and we are seeing the supply chain respond. The increase in house building activity is creating jobs both directly on site and indirectly in the supply chain."

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