The government’s Builders Finance Fund is not helping the small house builders it was designed to assist, claims Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Originally trailed in the March Budget this year as a ‘help for smaller builders’, the FMB argues that the 15 unit minimum threshold that has been applied, has effectively excluded large numbers of small and micro firms that do not build to this scale.
However, analysis of the shortlisted schemes reveals that over half of the schemes comprise more than 50 units which the FMB believes is a ‘far cry’ from the small sites that the scheme was set up to help. It states a handful of firms, including some very large companies, are behind a third of the schemes shortlisted.”
A recent survey of FMB members revealed that only 8% of respondents built sites of more than 15 units and none had applied for finance under the scheme, which the Federation regards as ‘very telling’.
“Ministers have said that more developers will be invited to bid for funding under the scheme in the coming months and if this is the case, the government should urgently review the 15 unit threshold which has so far been imposed, and which has effectively excluded a large proportion of the industry from benefiting from this policy,” argued Brian Berry, Chief Executive, FMB. “A five unit threshold would be much more helpful if the government is serious about helping small and micro house builders deliver more new homes.”
Mr Berry stated that while its is encouraging that the government understood the role that small to medium enterprises (SMEs) house builders need to play to address the housing need, it needs to ensure its policies match its intensions.
Brian Berry, Chief Executive, FMB – “the government should urgently review the 15 unit threshold which has so far been imposed”.