06th August 2014
Labour’s proposed ‘Help to Build’ scheme welcomed by SMEs
Despite the mixed connotations associated with Help to Buy, Labour has proposed a ‘Help to Build’ scheme to assist small businesses in the construction industry.
The country’s housing crisis is worsening each month, with a lack of supply leading to rapidly increasing house prices and rent bills. Politicians have noticed that housing is becoming a hot topic amongst voters. Therefore, all the major parties have begun devising policies and schemes to tackle the cost of living, particularly aiming to increase the supply of affordable housing. In recent months, the Labour Party proposed a ‘Help to Build’ scheme, wherein the government would provide state guarantees for lending to small and medium construction companies that are carrying out housing projects. The details of the scheme have yet to be announced, but it is hoped that Help to Build would support the construction of 10,000 homes a year.
Industry responses to the proposals have so far been positive. The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) welcomed the move, with Chief Executive Brian Berry suggesting that it could ‘reinvigorate the SME housing sector.’ Berry said that the policy was too strong to restrict to a single party’s manifesto: ‘the FMB hope the policy is implemented by whichever party forms the next government after the General Election.’
Small and medium construction companies had previously built two-thirds of all new houses, but the figure has now reduced to just over a quarter – with much of this drop taking place since the recession, Berry says.
As the general election nears, expect the other main parties to plot out their course for tackling the housing crisis. If small and medium construction companies want to improve their bottom line in the meantime, you might want to take a look at a demo of our software for builders.
Eric Pickles thinks that the Help to Buy scheme has fueled construction industry growth, but will residential-driven expansion prove sustainable?
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The latest New Housing Pipeline Report provides more evidence that the construction industry is recovering.