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Housing Supply Could be Boosted by More Funding to SME Builders

Access to a skilled workforce remains a concern for the sector

Housing Supply Could be Boosted by More Funding to SME Builders

In his budget speech this week, the Chancellor pledged £1.5 billion for the Home Building Fund to be targeted specifically at small and medium sized builders (SME) – allowing them to play a greater role in tackling the UK’s critical housing shortage.

Welcoming the announcement, Chief executive Brian Berry from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) said that the government’s new goal of building 300,000 homes pa by mid-2020s, together with the £44 billion pledged in the budget to meet this target, will boost the sector.

Furthermore, a £630 million fund has also been promised to increase opportunities for small scale developments, by requiring councils to deliver more homes from smaller sites, which are faster to build.

Further commenting on the proposals, Mr Berry said that with Brexit on the horizon, one of the major challenges to building more will be a shortage of skills, as European workers make up a significant proportion of the sector’s workforce.

Ensuring that the UK’s building industry continues to have access to a skilled labour pool remains therefore a concern for many in the sector.

Liz Jenkins, partner at international services firm Clyde & Co, said:

'Meeting the Chancellor’s ambitious targets will require an available and skilled construction workforce.’

‘In the long term we need to be attracting the next generation of talent into the sector but we have an immediate priority to create the skills we need to deliver new homes today,’ she added.

Further announcements in the Autumn Budget include changes to stamp duty, a clampdown on empty homes and sourcing more land for development.

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