Hopkins Homes warns leaving EU could impede first-time buyers in Suffolk and Essex

James Hopkins

James Hopkins - Credit: Archant

The region’s largest independent house builder has backed the campaign to remain in the EU, warning that a vote to leave would make it harder for people in Suffolk and Essex to buy their own home.

Hopkins Homes’ James Hopkins said recent polls showing a lead for the Leave campaign in East Anglia could see the region “sleepwalking into economic crisis”.

Highlighting Treasury figures, which indicate job losses and slower growth if the UK leaves, Mr Hopkins warned any stagnation of the economy would have knock-on effects for homeowners, buyers and builders – particularly first-time buyers.

He said the construction industry was already undermined by a “crippling skills shortage”, which would worsen if European workers were prevented from coming to the UK.

“Voting to leave the EU could make it harder for people to buy their own home, harder to build houses to meet the demand of a naturally growing and ageing population, and could have significant consequences for the general economy,” he added.

“My greatest fear is that leaving the EU will exacerbate the problem, bringing economic uncertainty and with it stagnation in the housing market. Instead of moving from ‘generation rent’ to ‘generation buy’ we could move to ‘generation debt’. We need to do as much as possible to help young people get onto the housing ladder.”

‘Leave’ campaigners say remaining would also cause housing problems because the government could not control European immigration.

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Voting is on Thursday, June 23.