United Trust Bank comments on the Conservative Party’s conference pledges on UK housing

Prime Minister Theresa May pledged further support for Help to Buy and a new £2bn pot for social/affordable housing at the Conservative Party conference. Noel Meredith, Executive Director of United Trust Bank and head of the Development Finance division comments:

“We welcome the Prime Minister’s continued support of Help to Buy, a scheme which many of our developer clients have embraced and employed to good effect. However, Help to Buy will benefit a relatively small percentage of homebuyers. There are more radical steps which could be taken to boost the building of new homes for all types of purchasers across the country.

“Unfortunately, the dysfunctional planning system continues to place unnecessary obstacles in the way of SME developers. Frequent feedback from our developer clients is that in order to scale up delivery of new housing they want more certainty and speedier resolution of planning applications. They feel that the planning process is still a lottery in terms of approvals and this has a detrimental impact on their ability to invest in new schemes.

“The SME developer sector has been in decline for the last 20 years but a radical overhaul of the planning system could help to rejuvenate an essential element of the UK’s house building capacity. Too much bureaucracy, unnecessary delays and onerous levels of developer contributions are no incentive for SME developers to take on smaller and often more challenging projects. Tackling these problems would encourage more SME house builders to contribute to the UK’s growing housing needs in far greater numbers.

“When developers find suitable sites, United Trust Bank is ready, willing and able to support them with the funding they need to build much needed new homes.”