We need help up North too

THIS column recently talked about the need for innovative thinking to inspire a kick start for the construction industry.

THIS column recently talked about the need for innovative thinking to inspire a kick start for the construction industry. It’s clear that something needs to be done.

There has also been a feeling our sector hasn’t received the funding assistance it deserves, particularly when you look at the billions that have been pumped into the banks to keep them afloat.

While it doesn’t come close to matching those crazy figures, the possibility of a £500m pot becoming available is a glimmer of hope for those who quite simply just want to start building again.

Until you get into the detail, however …

Not surprisingly, this money isn’t some form of assistance from the public purse, although it is the brainchild of the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which seems to be really putting some thought into how to get things moving. The HCA is running its Private Sector Rented Initiative (PSRI) in which pension funds and overseas investors will stump up the finances to kick start a property investment market in the UK for private rental homes.

Disillusioned by the foisting of the industry’s problems on to the private sector? It gets worse for those of us working in the North East. Indeed, anywhere but the South and South East, for that is where the majority of work is expected to be aimed.

Essentially, the investment fund will buy private rental homes within mixed tenure schemes from developers and housebuilders and get the schemes active.

The HCA may guarantee to pay the fund part of lost rental income if the number of empty homes rises above a certain level, or possibly underwrite the scheme for the early years.

Nice idea, but what about us up here. Surely our accents aren’t that strong that you can’t understand that the North is as much in need of help as the South.

For more information on Constructing Excellence in the North East, please contact chief executive, Catriona Lingwood, on (0191) 383-7435 or catriona@cene.org.uk

Catriona Lingwood is chief executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

 

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