From: Brian Berry, Chief Executive, Federation of Master Builders.
IF the Government wants to solve the housing crisis, it must address the access to finance issue that local housebuilders continue to face. The Chancellor needs to commit to underwriting loans from banks to small house builders to get finance flowing into our sector once more.
Nearly a decade after the financial crisis, difficulty in accessing finance remains a major barrier to small house builders increasing their delivery of new homes. Indeed, the FMB’s 2017 House Builders’ Survey showed little signs of improvement in this picture and, if anything, suggested slight deterioration.
If local housebuilders are to build Britain out of the housing crisis, the Chancellor must use the Budget to pull as many levers as possible in order to enable more finance to reach SMEs. One thing that the Government can do is act to reduce the capital costs of lending to this sector for smaller specialist lenders.
If the Government wants to meet the ambitious housing targets it has set itself, it will need to ensure the long-constrained SME housing sector can once again access the finance it needs to meet the challenge.
Practical step on education
From: Peter Lampl, Chairman, The Sutton Trust.
JAYNE Dowle (The Yorkshire Post, November 6) criticises our proposals for contextual university admissions, where we suggest less advantaged students are offered a two grade A-level offer, by arguing that they would lower standards.
In fact, as the new research for our report showed, one in five students who are not disadvantaged are already admitted at this level without any significant impact on standards, but the fact that this happens is not advertised.
We are simply arguing that universities should openly make the same offer to those who have to work hardest to gain good A-levels. At the same time, of course, we want schools to improve standards. But with those from better off backgrounds still ten times more likely to get to the best universities, we need to take practical but radical steps if we are to improve social mobility.
Spare time for reflection
From: Ken Franklin, Storrs Road, Chesterfield.
THE papers have been full of the thoughts of John Humphrys and Justin Webb. The target of their aim has not been the peccadilloes and misdemeanours of the political class – well not entirely – but rather the Today’s own Thought for the Day.
It was, they claimed, “deeply, deeply boring” and regularly offered the view that “Jesus was really nice”. There was a need they claimed to hear the views of agnostics and atheists.
There is a strong current that would like to see radio and television recast as a religion-free zone. This latest outburst from two of the lead presenters raises questions about their judgement while showing clearly just where they stand. Who, for example, would conclude that a three-hour programme cannot justify three minutes of reflection on issues at the heart of all religions?
Guest breath of fresh air
From: John Appleyard, Firthclfife Parade, Liversedge.
I LOVE listening to BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs on a Sunday morning, presented by Kirsty Young, with its wide range of guests and music.
This Sunday was no exception with guest Phil Scraton, a working class man from Liverpool, who progressed from bus conductor to professor in criminology.
Scraton has acted on behalf of political prisoners and deaths in custody, he has advised the families who have been campaigning over the Hillsborough football disaster as well as offering support to the residents of the Grenfell Tower disaster in London.
Phil Scraton is a breath of fresh air at a time when Parliament is under a cloud.
Revamp still needs trams
From: Bob Watson, Baildon.
THE “eye-catching image” of the proposed redevelopment of Leeds Station, encompassing a new hub for HS2, trans-Pennine Northern Powerhouse Rail and other local and national services is all very well (The Yorkshire Post, November 6).
However, it will still not be the hub that the region deserves unless it is all linked to a new Metro Tram system. This should, of course, have been in place years ago but for the inept actions of Leeds City Council, and now needs to be brought forward as a matter of urgency.
Snow muddle in the media
From: Tim Mickleburgh, Boulevard Avenue, Grimsby.
YOU can tell that winter is here by the fact that one nameless newspaper has given its annual panic warning over just how bad the weather is going to be. Yet, at the same time, they talk of people looking forward to a White Christmas!
Personally I think snow should be confined to Christmas cards and hilly fields that can be viewed from car or bus windows. For who wants to walk in the slush that snow turns into, let alone untreated icy pavements?