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Small and medium builders (SMEs) back government planning reform

Much has been made of the yet unreleased planning bill but the Government has indicated a direction of travel with the ‘Planning for the Future’ whitepaper.

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB), said: “The current system enables the biggest builders to win most of the work and the Government is correct to use planning reform to try and solve the housing crisis and enable more players to build. In turn, this will also help its levelling up agenda, specifically in construction, as SMEs train 7 in 10 construction apprentices and are 90% of the training capacity.”

Some have incorrectly called planning reform a ‘developers charter’ and those doing so, have not read the consultation correctly and are not helping to shape future reforms.

The Government is proposing greater local consultation and simplifying how it occurs. It is then using that guidance to enable more certainty in the planning system, so that developers of all sizes and sorts, from self and private builders, to housing associations and councils, can build homes without waiting up to a decade to get started.

Rico Wojtulewicz, head of Housing and Planning policy at the House Builders Association (HBA), the house building division of the NFB, said: “We have worked long and hard to get the Government to understand that locally employing and retaining SMEs are part of the levelling up agenda and key component of solving the housing crisis. Planning reform is desperately needed and offers a great opportunity of change. We need opposition parties and Conservative backbenchers to come together and shape the future of planning, not oppose it before it is even released.

The HBA response to the Planning for the Future whitepaper is available to download on our website and tries to build on the Governments reform starting point. We urge those who want to fix the housing crisis to read it and consider how planning reform can enable better development, not simply stifle reform for party political purposes.”

The NFB and HBA response is available here

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