SMEs are key to solving housing crisis

Following the release of the ‘Inquiry into support for small housebuilders’, the Government has announced that £300 million of the Housing Infrastructure Fund will be invested in the West of England, Oxfordshire and Greater Manchester.

As part of a new ‘Dedicated Strategy for Small Housebuilders’ the strategy aims to help unlock housing developments and strengthen infrastructure, and could deliver up to 400,000 new homes.

MPs hope to reverse the decline in the number of new homes built by small builders, which was dropped to 2,500 from 12,000 in 1998.

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) thinks that this funding will go a long way towards helping improve local infrastructure network, as well as enabling the delivery of affordable homes. However, solving the housing crisis requires access to finance for SMEs, a more diverse housing marketing and planning reform.

The inquiry was supported by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), and suggestions made within the report include:

  1. Improve access to finance: MPs are calling for a Government backed guarantee on loans to small housebuilders.
  2. Action against late payments, with a new “three strikes and you’re out” rule targeting big businesses who repeatedly pay late.
  3. Increase apprenticeship opportunities from large to small businesses
  4. Remove barriers to building on small sites and help streamline the planning process for smaller firms.

Catherine West MP, Vice Chair of the Inquiry, said: “The current state of the UK housing market leaves no doubt that there is huge potential for small builders to make a vital contribution to building the homes we need.

Our report sets out a series of proposals that will enable small builders to scale up, grow and build more which will help relieve the housing shortage.

The simple truth is that the UK cannot expect to build the homes we so desperately need unless smaller builders are backed. Giving small builders the keys they need could result in tens and thousands of urgently needed homes being built up and down the UK.

This will help create jobs, stimulate economic growth and provide the homes the UK need.”

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