While it is a lot to ask for a new government to cure all the construction industry’s headaches in 100 days, the National Federation of Builders (NFB) has a few suggestions that might help lay the foundations for further growth and recovery in the industry in the next parliament and beyond.
The NFB is keen for the next government to take on the long-term challenges in the construction industry as well as continuing to support growth in the short term. In order to support this long-term approach, we are calling for the next government to make new housebuilding, smarter public procurement and new investment in the industry key priorities.
A key approach to all three themes should be to focus on the need for any new measures to foster SME builders, contractors and developers. Our suggestions for how this could be achieved are set out below:
- Ensure that existing schemes such as Help to Buy and the Builder’s Finance Fund continue to be supported, ensuring support for low-volume housebuilders
- No substantial changes to the planning regime
- Introduce a bill to remove the local authority borrowing cap so councils can build more new homes
- Present a strategy for a new generation of garden cities and new towns underpinned by plans for existing sites and key delivery dates
- Introduce a strategy to make smarter public procurement a key priority for the next government. By making the procurement process more streamlined, as outlined in the LGA’s procurement strategy, costs and time can be reduced for public sector clients and contractors
- Further incentives and guidance from central government to introduce standardised contracts and PQQs such as PAS 91
Industry investment and finance
- Announce the launch of an institutional investment in construction summit. The NFB are keen for a new government to support institutional investment in the construction industry and promote a shift towards long-term investment in the industry
- Investigate the possibility of a ‘housebuilding bond’ with institutional investors and house builders (particularly SMEs)
- Ensure the British Business Bank is a comprehensive source of financing that it can promote to SMEs. This will help builders and contractors access the finance they need to grow their businesses