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Build, build, build!

by Kyle Molyneux  |  Fri 03 Jul 2020

Build, build, build!

Prime Minister Johnson has announced that the Government is ready to ‘build, build, build’ and unlock a raft of opportunities through planning, investment and funding. Richard Beresford, chief executive for the National Federation of Builders (NFB), said: “The Prime Ministers speech is exactly what was needed. NFB members have been calling for Government intervention on planning and procurement for a number of years and although we’ve been at the heard of policy reform, such as the NPPF review, Housing White Paper and Prompt Payment Code, today’s announcement appears transformative, rather than piecemeal.”

As well as a planning reform paper scheduled for July, the following planning changes will come into force in September 2020: Wider range of commercial buildings will be allowed to change to residential use without the need for a planning application; Builders will no longer need a normal planning application to demolish and rebuild vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings if they are rebuilt as homes; Property owners will be able to build additional space above their properties via a fast track approval process, subject to neighbour consultation.

The Prime Minister also announced the following funding programmes and the chancellor will detail tax changes in the week beginning 6 July 2020: A £12bn affordable homes programme, supporting up to 180,000 new affordable homes for ownership and rent over the next eight years; 1,500 unit pilot of ‘First Homes’: houses that will be sold to first time buyers at a 30% discount which will remain in perpetuity; Allocation of the £400m Brownfield Land Fund and a Home Builders Fund to help smaller developers access finance for new housing developments.

Finally, the Government has said that later in the year, it will publish a Local Recovery White Paper and National Infrastructure Plan. All of which means increased demand for compact machinery as the building industry gears up. Coupled with increased demand for larger kit on the HS2 project, it would be wise for those in the market for new machines to get in their orders early.

Nick Sangwin, NFB national chair, said: “When we hear from the chancellor, we will understand more about how business will benefit from taxation changes but today’s speech showed that the Government understands some of the major challenges which industry faces. The Government must now rigorously engage with the wider construction industry and NFB members to ensure that any reforms are long lasting, effective and allow business to get on with winning work, not reforming failure.”

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