Business development · 2 December 2015

Government review to cut red tape for construction sector’s small firms

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The “Cutting Red Tape” review aims to make it easier for small construction firms by addressing costly barriers to business

Small firms in the UK’s construction industry will gain the chance to contribute input and feedback as a new government review aims to uncover the key issues affecting the country’s house-builders.

Building on the government’s Housing Implementation Task Force, a new “Cutting Red Tape” review is part of a governmental drive to cut red tape in the sector, removing costly barriers that make it particularly hard for smaller construction businesses.

The broad review of the sector aims to collate the experiences of both large and small companies involved in house-building, including developers, planners and trade associations.

National chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, John Allan, said: “If the government can encourage small firms back into house building, that would be a major step towards meeting the country’s housing needs.”

“The government is right to listen to the needs of smaller businesses,” he added. “In the 1980s, smaller houses delivered around two-thirds of our new homes. Today, it is less than a third.”

The government plans to use the review’s findings to take significant steps to remove bureaucratic burdens on business, as part of a proposed £10bn deregulation push.

Following priorities identified by the Task Force, key issues the review will seek to address include those surrounding the construction of roads and infrastructure for new housing projects, utility infrastructure, and EU environmental initiatives like the Habitats Directive and permit requirements.

Commenting on the review’s launch, housing minister Brandon Lewis, said: “We want to hear the views of firms big and small so we can remove unnecessary red tape and help house-builders do what the do best, building the homes we need.

“We are determined to remove barriers faced by house-builders to ensure we continue to keep the UK building as quickly and as safely as possible.”

Construction industry bodies have welcomed efforts to remove costly and unnecessary red tape. Executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, Stewart Baseley, said: “There are significant regulatory processes and charges levied on the industry that can adversely affect viability, but also, critically, delay the ability of home builders to get on site and start building.

“Reducing red tape will bring more sites into play more quickly and so help the industry deliver more desperately needed homes in the coming years.”

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

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