14 November 2017
The chancellor is reportedly planning for special skills villages near building sites to quickly train workers so they would be available almost immediately. According to The Sun, Philip Hammond will set aside funding to train tens of thousands of construction workers to tackle the housing crisis in his budget speech.
The National Federation of Builders (NFB) has always stated that the most effective way to solve the housing crisis is to remove the barriers to growth for construction SMEs. SMEs conduct two-thirds of the industry’s training, and smaller house builders build larger, higher quality homes that fit in with their communities, yet the Government continues to throw money at volume house builders.
Funding for Lending, aimed at home buyers and small businesses, increased larger house builders’ prices by ten per cent. When the end of the scheme was announced, £1.6 billion was wiped off the sector’s value. This windfall was not invested in skills.
Help to Buy has also inflated volume house builders’ share prices, again with no long-term skills benefit to the industry.
In a letter to the chancellor ahead of the budget, the NFB asked Mr Hammond to allocate greater funding to local planning departments and lift the borrowing cap on local authorities allowing them to commission housing more easily.
Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said:
“The NFB has always been clear that the best way to get Britain building is to empower SMEs, the engine of the economy. Every £1 invested in construction generates £2.84 in wider economic benefits, while for every £1 invested in an SME, 90p is spent on local employment, local apprentices and growing the local economy. We have written to the chancellor outlining how to tackle the housing crisis by putting local authorities and SMEs in the best position to help deliver the 800 homes a day that people need.”