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Over half a billion pounds of new investment for smaller housing schemes will help build up to 15,000 homes, Housing Minister Kris Hopkins announced today (29 April 2014).
The £525 million Builders Finance Fund is an essential part of the government’s long-term economic plan. It will accelerate construction on smaller sites, support 15,000 jobs in construction and sustain hundreds of British businesses.
Mr Hopkins said the collapse of the unsustainable housing boom in 2008 had devastated the construction industry, leading to the loss of 250,000 jobs, and a falling market share for the nation’s smaller builders.
Speaking today at the Home Builders Federation, he will say housebuilding is at its highest level since 2007 and climbing, but the government wants smaller housing schemes to play a bigger role in boosting the supply of new homes.
The new investment will be made available to unlock “shovel-ready” sites between 15 to 250 homes, which have their plans in place and the support of local people, but need a bit of help to get development moving.
All developers will be able to apply for funding, but the focus on smaller schemes will benefit smaller firms who typically build on these sites. A prospectus published today will help housebuilders prepare their bids.
New jobs and more trade for small businesses
Every home built under the scheme will support a person’s job. That means 15,000 job opportunities, and a boost for hundreds of small businesses that supply building materials to developers.
Almost a million independent firms are involved in the construction industry, accounting for 20% of all small and medium-sized companies, and businesses that supply building products have an annual turnover of more than £50 billion, which contributes 4.5% to the UK’s Gross Domestic Product.
Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said:
This government has got Britain building again, and created thousands of jobs in the construction sector. But it has been harder for smaller schemes to come back from the crash of 2008 and, as part of our long-term economic plan, we want them to have a bigger role in building homes for the housing market.
From today developers can start preparing their bids for a share of £525 million to accelerate development on shovel-ready schemes of 15 to 250 homes. This funding will get workers back on site, support 15,000 jobs across the construction industry, and build thousands of new homes for communities up and down the country.
Help across the housing market
Smaller housing schemes are also benefiting from measures to help homebuyers. Over 1,900 small and medium sized builders have signed up to offer homes through the Help to Buy: equity loan scheme, which is helping over 20,000 households get on the property ladder.
Support through the Builders Finance Fund will be on top of £1 billion that has been made available to unlock 250,000 homes on large-scale developments with over 1,500 units, and £50 million that will support housing infrastructure and help local enterprise partnerships play a key role in delivering homes in their areas. Both schemes are currently open for bids.
Over 420,000 new homes have been delivered since 2010, including 170,000 affordable homes.
The investment through the Builders Finance Fund will fund locally-supported housing. Applicants should have the support of the local community and local authority. Sites must have outline planning consent (including any relevant Section 106 Agreement) in place when they submit their bid. The site must also have an implementable planning consent in place by 31 March 2015, to enable development to commence for the benefit of local people.
The nature and form of schemes that apply for funding is a local matter. The local authority and community should determine the appropriate level of affordable housing, market housing and other uses as part of their wider aspirations for any site.
Bidders must confirm that residential properties financed through this Fund will be marketed in the UK.
The following infographic has also been published with this announcement: