The government’s new £525m Builders Finance Fund will improve access to finance for some small housebuilders, but the minimum threshold of 15 units will exclude many small and micro-housebuilders, warns the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
The FMB’s chief executive Brian Berry said: “Most of our members build schemes of fewer than 15 new homes and it is disappointing that this fund will not be open to these micro-house builders. However, for those firms that are eligible to apply, it will make a significant difference to their ability to access the necessary finance to build new homes.”
He continued: “Although we support the government’s good intentions, put simply: if Ministers want to see a meaningful spike in SME housebuilding, the 15 to 250 unit is wrong. 15 units is too high and although all support for new housebuilding is welcome, a house builder that has the capacity to deliver 250 new homes is anything but ‘small’.
“Also, we hope that lessons have been learned following the previous ‘Get Britain Building’ fund which proved somewhat of a damp squib. The fund was launched by government in November 2011 and was supposed to help provide 16,000 new homes over three years. However, only 715 homes have been built to date, with builders citing the overly bureaucratic nature of the application process as a major barrier.”