Building fund extended after large firms pull out
The government has reduced restrictions on the size of builders who can apply for its Get Britain building fund after larger developers pulled out.
The Homes and Communities Agency is making £100 million of the £570 million loan scheme available to builders working on sites with 15 homes or more. The previous limit was 25 homes.
The Communities and Local Government department said the scheme was initially oversubscribed, but some developers later found they could go ahead without the funding.
Get Britain building funding is mainly issued in the form of commercial loans intended to kick start stalled housing developments, although the government has also said it may take equity stakes in some projects, and is intended to deliver 16,000 homes.
Responding to written questions in parliament this week housing minister Grant Shapps revealed the HCA received 386 expressions of interest in the scheme, with 224 bids subsequently shortlisted. Twenty nine reserve schemes were then added to the list in May.
Only £2.3 million of the funding has so far been spent, although Mr Shapps stressed the programme is intended to deliver homes in 2012/13 and 2013/14.
The government has now said developers have until 12pm on 25 July to apply for the remaining funding.
Mr Shapps said: ‘By spreading the net wider and boosting the number of eligible sites we can offer more help to builders both large and small.
‘We saw huge appetite last time for this funding but some developers later found they could build without the fund. We need to be sure every single pound of taxpayers’ money works as hard as it can so we can get as many homes as possible out of Get Britain building. That is why I’m inviting further bids.’
Pat Ritchie, chief executive of the HCA, said: ‘I’m pleased that we are able to extend the reach of the Get Britain building programme, giving many more developers who have struggled to secure finance the opportunity to apply for the investment they need to get their stalled projects back on track.’