COUNCIL housebuilding is needed to solve housing crisis, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

The industry body says Prime Minister Theresa May is "right to announce sweeping measures to enable councils to build a new generation of social housing".

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, was commenting on Mrs May's announcement the Government will invest an additional £2 billion in affordable housing.

"Despite the Prime Minister’s precarious political position since the General Election, Theresa May has managed to take a braver and bolder stance on housebuilding than any prime minister of recent years," he said.

"The private sector will continue to expand the number of new homes it builds, particularly so if the Government succeeds in its aim of removing barriers that hold back small-scale house builders.

"However, in the housebuilding heyday of the 1950/60s, a healthy private sector was always complemented by significant levels of social housebuilding. Indeed, we have only ever built at the level we need to keep pace with demand when both the private and public house building sectors have been firing on all fronts. In the 1960s, for example, we were building around 400,000 homes per year and half of those were social housing."

Mr Berry said the PM's plan could help to diversify the industry if councils worked with smaller, local builders. But he warned of some "significant roadblocks" to Mrs May's vision, such as a shortage of skilled labour in the construction industry. He said many more young people must be recruited and trained, and there would be a continuing need for skilled EU workers.