The CBI yesterday (15 August) commented on figures from the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG) which show that annual housing starts in England are up by 7% in the 12 months to June 2013 (110,530) compared with the year before, but still 40% below the March quarter 2007 peak.

Rhian Kelly, CBI director for business environment policy, said: "These are early signs of a pick up but we need to put it in perspective. We've been falling woefully short of building the homes we need for decades. There's huge pent-up demand which is just not being met, from first-time buyers and from second-steppers looking to get on the next rung of the ladder.

"Help to Buy is a bold move to make mortgages more affordable but it's only one part of the jigsaw. We need a planning system which gets new properties built quickly, more investment in affordable homes now – not after the next election – and a stronger private rental market."