A group of MPs across the whole political spectrum in England has called for the government to publish “a dedicated strategy for small housebuilders” to help alleviate the country’s housing shortage.
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Small and Micro Business wants to see more small housebuilders contributing to the number of homes constructed. The group believes the government is missing a trick by neglecting the impact these organisations can have.
Small and micro businesses can, according to the APPG for Small and Micro Business “drive local economies,” with their capacity and focus on local interests.
The report reveals the extent of the fall in homes built in England by SMEs; as recent as 30 years ago, four in 10 new homes were constructed by small housebuilders. Now, that figure is barely one in 10, which beggars belief at a time when it is increasingly difficult for people to find homes they want to live in.
The inquiry into support for small housebuilders says that, in order for the dedicated strategy to succeed, it must address four challenges that are restricting SME housebuilders.
These include the problem of limited access to finance, which has led to the APPG to call for government-backed guarantees on loans for small housebuilders.
Action is needed against businesses that delay paying suppliers, with a prompt payment code called for – something that is attributed to struggles of SMEs after Carillion’s collapse.
The APPG has also called for removal of barriers to building on small sites, and a greater drive to bring more apprentices into the construction industry.
Robert Courts MP is the Chair of the APPG. He said: “Government action has started to address some of the needs of small builders but we must leave no stone unturned to truly unlock the housing market.
“A new, dedicated strategy for small housebuilders would be an important step in achieving this. This needs to centre on a positive package of measures that removes some of the biggest barriers for small builders including the inability to access finance and reducing the cost of developer contributions like the Community Infrastructure Levy.”