Senior business leaders join forces to create ‘Building Back Britain Commission’

Commission will set out ideas to put housing at the heart of Prime Minister’s economic recovery and net zero plans.

Some of the most prominent figures in UK housing delivery have come together to form an independent industry group which will produce fresh ideas on how the government can hope to deliver on its dual ambitions to build 300,000 homes a year while reducing emissions from the UK’s residential housing stock.

The group, which was set up by WPI Strategy, will produce two reports this year. The first paper, due in the autumn, will demonstrate the value of housing to economic recovery and the integral role the sector can play in delivering on the government’s plans to ‘level up’ the UK. The second report, to be published ahead of the COP26 Summit in Glasgow in November, will set out how the housing sector can work with consumers and the government to help decarbonise housing.

The six Commissioners on the Building Back Britain Commission are:

  • Terrie Alafat CBE, Chair, The Riverside Group
  • Robert Boughton, CEO, Thakeham Group
  • Jason Millett, CEO for Consultancy, Mace
  • David Thomas, CEO, BarrattDevelopments
  • Nigel Wilson, CEO, Legal & General
  • Steve Wood, CEO, National House Building Council

As well as co-operating with Number 10, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the official opposition, the Commission will look to work with combined authority mayors and the relevant figures in the devolved nations of the UK.

The reports will be authored by Chris Walker, a former government economist who has previously worked in the Treasury and MHCLG. He and the Commission will be supported by a high-level and diverse Advisory Group made up of some of the UK’s leading housing organisations has also been established to help submit data and ideas into the Commission. Members include:

  • Create Streets
  • Federation of Master Builders
  • Green Finance Institute
  • Home Builders Federatio
  • National Housing Federation
  • Royal Institute of British Architects
  • Housing Partnership Network
  • Society of Local Authority Chief Executives
  • Housing Europe
  • Housing Partnership Network

Terrie Alafat CBE, Chair of The Riverside Group, is serving as Chair of the Building Back Britain Commission. She said:

 “New thinking and greater investment in housing will be vital in stimulating the economy, tackling regional inequalities and meeting the country’s green ambitions. That’s why we’re bringing together leaders in the sector to develop innovative ideas to help level up the UK and meet our net zero targets.

“We know that the housing industry can lead the way in rebuilding our country, improving people’s lives across the UK and creating a fairer and greener society. As we emerge from the pandemic, our Commission will work to ensure that this is the case and that housing is at the heart of the post-Covid recovery.”

Robert Boughton, CEO, Thakeham Group, said:

I’m pleased to be part of the Building Back Britain Commission as we consider how housing can best contribute to the economic recovery and the sector can support Government plans to decarbonise the UK’s housing stock.”

Jason Millett, CEO for Consultancy, Mace, said:

“The housing industry has a key role to play in delivering the recovery, levelling up and net zero.

I’m looking forward to exploring this further with the Building Back Britain Commission and ensuring that we maximise the potential of housing.”

David Thomas, CEO, Barratt Developments, said:

“As we respond to the pandemic, housebuilding has a central role in supporting the economic recovery and creating high quality, sustainable homes and places. I’m therefore delighted that Barratt Developments is part of the Building Back Britain Commission, which will work to ensure that housing is at the heart of Prime Minister’s levelling up and net zero plans.” 

Nigel Wilson, CEO, Legal & General, said:

“The Building Back Britain Commission will provide ministers with fresh ideas for how the housing industry can support the recovery across the UK and deliver on net zero. I’m pleased to be part of this important and timely group.”

Steve Wood, CEO, National House Building Council, said:

“I’m pleased to be part of the Building Back Britain Commission as we explore how the housebuilding industry can support the economic recovery and ­deliver more high quality new homes to higher environmental standards.”