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Grant Shapps backs self-builders

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said the Government will 'put its money where its mouth is' and help more people to realise their dream of building their own home.

Speaking at Grand Designs Live 2011, Mr Shapps said that he wanted self build to become a mainstream housing option, and that Government would play its part by making available publicly owned land for use by ordinary people to build their own homes.

As a group self-builders are already Britain's largest housebuilder, accounting for about one in five of Britain's new homes each year; but barriers and red tape have led to the UK having one of the lowest proportions of new homes built by self-builders in Europe.

Mr Shapps said he wanted to see more land being made available – both private and public – to enable more individual and community self build schemes. He called on private investors to bring forward plots, and for local authorities and housing associations to show their support.

The Minister said central Government would lead the way: he will shortly announce the first publicly-owned sites to be made available to housebuilders to include plots exclusively for self-builders.

This will be part of wider Government measures announced in the Budget to increase the amount of land made available for housebuilding, including to self-builders, which the Minister hopes will bring self-building into the mainstream and stop it being "the preserve of the privileged few".

It also forms part of Mr Shapps's drive to remove barriers and strip away bureaucracy which, he argues, have for too long thwarted the aspirations of people who want to build their own home.

Grant Shapps said: "Self builders deliver affordable, greener and more innovatively-designed homes; and make a big contribution to the number of new homes built in this country, yet there is scope to significantly increase the number of self built homes in the UK – both for individual households and for community-driven projects.”