Miliband attacks housebuilders … housebuilders hit back

Ed Miliband has accused Britain’s biggest housebuilders, Barratt, Berkeley, Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey, of making excessive profits.

Mr Miliband said: “Profits for our four biggest housing developers are going through the roof. They have soared 557% since this Government took office – even though homes have been built at their slowest rate witnessed in peacetime for almost a century.”

Meanwhile, housebuilders have claimed that they are building as fast as they can and that they are being held back by a slow planning process and onerous conditions attached to developments.

Sources: Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Times

We say: Interesting couple of items. We’re not sure Mr Milibean has quite got the hang of basic economics yet: probably something to do with never having had a proper job in the real world (well, not in the past 20 years anyway).

Look, Mr Bean: if there’s a run on widgets, any business sitting on a stock of widgets makes a windfall profit. At least, it does unless it makes the altruistic decision to sell its widgets at less than market value. And what’s true for widgets is true for houses. So if house prices go through the roof (at it were) house builders inevitably make big profits. What’s not to understand? And it’s hardly reasonable, even for you, to criticise individual businesses for the way the market operates.

David Whiscombe


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