FMB urges Gavin Barwell to support SMEs

The new Housing and Planning Minister, Gavin Barwell MP, must build on the positive legacy left behind by his predecessor Brandon Lewis MP, the Federation of Master Builders has said in response to the appointment.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said, “We welcome the appointment of Gavin Barwell as the new Minister of State for Housing and Planning. The Government has rightly identified housing as one of the greatest challenges facing this country and having reaffirmed its commitment to building 1 million new homes over the course of this parliament, Barwell is assuming an important position at a critical juncture. Brexit presents a challenge to the house building industry, and it will require bold leadership if the progress that has been made over the last few years isn’t to be lost as a result of any sense of uncertainty within our sector. Momentum must be maintained.

Berry said that Barwell’s has previous experience in the Department for Communities and Local Government as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Greg Clark, who has been a great champion of local house builders, was encouraging. “Barwell’s predecessor Brandon Lewis similarly understood the significance of reviving the SME house building sector if the Government is to achieve its housing targets, both by increasing volume and speeding up build out rates,” Berry continued. “It’s of vital importance that Barwell continues with the positive legacy Lewis left behind, which saw house building completion figures rise and a range of initiatives introduced aimed at empowering smaller developers.

“SMEs are nevertheless still at a serious disadvantage in this country with far too many struggling to access the finance they need to build and hampered by a planning system that all too often places the same requirements on small developments as it does for larger ones. More needs to be done to overcome these constraints. With a new Prime Minister in place, now is perhaps the time to start thinking about more radical solutions to the housing crisis, including enabling local authorities to fund house building by lifting borrowing caps. Local house builders are ready to play a much larger role in getting Britain building again, and we look forward to working with the new Housing Minister in identifying how SMEs can help him achieve this.”

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