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SMEs given easier access to finance

Access to finance for small and medium-sized house builders is showing signs of improvement, according to the Federation of Master Builders’ (FMB) latest survey.

The FMB’s 2015 House Builders’ Survey showed increased levels of participation in house building by smaller builders.

HFMB chief executive Brian Berry said, however: “It is still disappointing that nearly two-thirds of builders cite difficulty in accessing finance as inhibiting their ability to deliver new housing. Too many small developers are being held back by banks’ reluctance to lend for small-scale development, which is stopping new building.”

Mr Berry said that some form of loan guarantee, or further well-judged interventions along the lines of the Housing Growth Partnership, would be helpful.

The survey found that availability of suitable small sites is now the most commonly cited barrier to delivery.

This seems to be most keenly felt by those looking to develop small sites of fewer than five units.

Responding to the survey results, housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis said: “This One Nation government has got Britain building again. Confidence is up and we’re starting to see a real revival across the industry, but we know there is more to do.

“That’s why we’re helping to boost the supply of houses, with £1bn in brownfield funding to generate more viable land and building 200,000 starter homes. Our new Housing Growth Partnership will also help smaller builders invest in new projects, allowing them to recruit and train skilled workers and become more competitive in their local area. I’d encourage them to apply for a share of this £100m fund.”

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