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Govt unveils help for small building firms

The government has unveiled substantial new investment aimed at boosting smaller housing schemes.Some £525 million is being made available as part of the Builders Finance Fund, which will speed up development on smaller housing projects, support 15,000 jobs and help sustain hundreds of British businesses.It will be used to fund projects of between 15 and 250 homes that are "shovel-ready", where developers have established plans and secured the backing of local people but are experiencing difficulties getting the projects off the ground.Housing minister Kris Hopkins announced the investment yesterday (April 29th), saying the economic downturn had severely affected the construction sector, resulting in the loss of a quarter of a million jobs and a falling market share for the nation's smaller builders.The government has published a prospectus to help firms prepare their bids and they will be able to submit expressions of interest to the Homes and Communities Agency from May 14th.With housebuilding now at its highest level since 2007, the housing minister says he wants smaller housing schemes to play a greater role in provision.Mr Hopkins said: "This government has got Britain building again, and created thousands of jobs in the construction sector. "But it has been harder for smaller schemes to come back from the crash of 2008 and, as part of our long-term economic plan, we want them to have a bigger role in building homes for the housing market."All developers will be able to apply for the funding but it will tend to benefit firms that build on the smaller sites.Construction has a huge role to play in the wider economy. It involves more than a million firms and accounts for 20 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses.Firms that supply building products have an annual turnover of more than £50 billion, contributing 4.5 per cent to the UK’s gross domestic product.The government has pointed out that a number of other schemes it has established are also benefiting smaller construction firms.Over 1,900 small and medium-sized builders have been involved in the Help to Buy equity loan scheme. 

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