By Jonathan Davies

Housebuilder Persimmon has warned that the general election is holding back housebuilding.

It says the looming election is making it more difficult to secure planning permission for new building sites. Persimmon said it plans to have begun work on 120 new sites by the end of the first half, and have so far started 85.

In a statement accompanying its financial results, Persimmon said: “In line with past experience it has become increasingly difficult to secure planning consent for sites as May’s general election approaches.

"While we would expect such delays to be short term in nature, they are hindering the expansion in the number of active outlets required by the housebuilding industry to support an increase in the volume of newly built homes delivered to the market.”

The housebuilder said sales revenue was up 7% in the first three months of the year. Persimmon sold 7,375 new private homes at an average £207,00, 4% higher than last year.