The Labour Party’s proposed ‘Help to Build’ scheme, which would provide government guarantees for loans to SME house builders, has been welcomed by the Federation of Master Builders as a means to help more small house builders enter the housing market.
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Chris Leslie MP, and Shadow Housing Minister Emma Reynolds MP, visited FMB member firm Building Associates Ltd at a site in Gillingham on Monday July 28 to highlight what the scheme might achieve for small house building firms.
Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB said:
“Small house builders have suffered very badly over recent years. They used to build two thirds of all new homes but they are now building just over a quarter and much of this reduction has happened in the past six years.
“This has inevitably had an impact on the overall capacity of the industry to build the number of new homes we need. The main barrier to SME house builders building more homes is the difficulty they face accessing finance on viable terms. Until this problem is addressed the large number of small building firms that have diversified away from building homes won’t re-enter the market.”
He concluded: “While it is encouraging that there is cross party support for more small house builders to enter the housing market, the ‘Help to Build’ idea being put forward by Labour is the most far-reaching solution to have emerged so far. This is an idea which could re-invigorate the SME house building sector and we hope the policy is implemented by whichever party forms the next government after the General Election.”