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Housing Ministry Pledges to Improve Builder Competition and Support Smaller Firms

As part of its overall strategy, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has promised to provide much-needed small builder support by improving housing market competition and making it easier for these smaller firms to grow. 

This pledge was introduced in the wake of the MHCLG departmental plan overhaul, which occurred only six months after the last edition was initiated. 

The Ministry’s top priority with this plan is to deliver the homes that the UK needs by meeting certain targets, such as building a million homes by 2020 and half a million more by 2022. It believes that higher levels of productivity and competition in the construction industry, including innovative technologies and small builder support, will ensure that it gets there. 

To accomplish this goal, the MHCLG spotlighted certain primary initiatives, two of which target builders. 

  • Improve competition and productivity in the housing market, making it more accessible to smaller builders and those who favour efficient and innovative methods while supporting the efforts of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Department for Education (DfE) to support the delivery of construction skills; and 
  • Target SMEs, innovators, and custom builders with short-term loan finance via the Home Building Fund as well as provide new guarantees to support housebuilding, such as SMEs.  

Chaired by Sir Oliver Letwin, the independent review has already revealed concerns regarding the way that major housebuilders control the market and why it takes so long for them to deliver housing once planning permission has been granted. 

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Lenders and the mortgage industry, in general, have been asking the government to provide small builder support for over a year and it now seems to have been officially recognised. 

The government proposed other means of achieving its housing goals, such as: 

  • Delivering the reforms proposed at Autumn Budget and in its Housing White Paper to ensure that the housing supply objectives are supported by the planning system. 
  • Delivering the grant funding from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to facilitate the construction of homes in areas where they’re needed and providing long-term loan funding from the Home Building Fund for large sites and infrastructure. 
  • Supporting local housing associations and authorities to make more affordable homes available. 
  • Using the Affordable Homes Programme to provide grant funding. 
  • Lifting the borrowing caps on Housing Revenue Accounts for councils in areas where affordability is an issue. 
  • Increasing land availability in certain areas and ensuring that underused land is put to better use. 
  • Maximising surplus publicly owned land, releasing extra central government land and supporting local authorities to make their land available. 
  • Supporting local authorities to make land available for new settlements.
  • Providing funding to allow Homes England to obtain and prepare sites and accelerate housebuilding on small sites where activity has stalled. 
  • Increase housing supply and home ownership via Help to Buy. 
  • Encouraging best practices for high-quality building design to underscore the establishment of good places to live.

 Specialists in Construction Insurance

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