Actis backs calls for Government to offer extra help to construction

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Actis has joined calls by the Home Builders Federation (HBF) for the government to introduce further measures to help the construction industry during and after the coronavirus crisis

The HBF has asked housing secretary Robert Jenrick to extend existing planning permissions by 12 months, defer section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) payments and clarify the status the of business rates and council tax on homes which can’t be sold during the lockdown to support construction.

Its executive chairman Stewart Baseley is also looking into ways the government can help the industry once measures have been lifted.

Housebuilding to help UK’s recovery

Actis’ sales director, Mark Cooper, said: “The construction sector contributes billions of pounds to the economy. And of course, we still need to provide hundreds of thousands of new homes to address the severe housing shortfall.

“The government’s innovative mechanisms, such as the furloughing scheme, are, of course, a massive help. Everyone in the industry needs to be in a position to be and running as soon as it is safe and sensible to do so, to enable us to provide much-needed homes, to keep construction workers in employment and thus help protect society and the economy longer term.

“As well as asking for support from the government, it’s important that those still working use this time to plan their future projects. Much of the technical work can be done during this period. It can be carried out from home and much of it via the internet.

“We had a severe housing shortfall before the crisis hit…”

“And we will clearly be playing catch up once things settle down. I wonder whether there will be a greater focus on offsite construction to help address this as the units can be built much faster than brick and block.

“Indeed, some of this time in lockdown could be spent looking into the practicalities and benefits of changing ways of working to help us come out of this difficult period with more efficient working practices – which will benefit the industry and the house buying and renting public who are so much in need of homes.”

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