2 August 2017

Land release fund must enable SME house builders

The Government has announced the launch of the £45 million Land Release Fund to help local authorities “release some of their unused or surplus land for housing”.

The Land Release Fund is the result of a partnership between the Cabinet Office and the One Public Estate (OPE) programme. Managed by the Local Government Association (LGA), it takes the total amount of available funding up to £54 million.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) expects this funding to release enough public land to build 160,000 new homes by 2020.

The House Builders Association (HBA) – the house building division of the National Federation of Builders (NFB) – has frequently advocated that the most productive solution to the housing crisis lies in enabling small and medium-sized (SME) developers to build more homes in their local communities.

Rico Wojtulewicz, policy advisor for the HBA, said:

“While the announcement of extra money to unlock land for new homes is certainly welcome, we must ensure that it ends up enabling SME house builders to do their job. SMEs unlock supply more quickly, drive a competitive local market and win work on reputation. They also employ and train the majority of construction employees, retaining two out of three of them. We cannot waste those intrinsic values for another decade.”