It's January: traditionally the time for festive hangovers, bleak weather and - this time around - bleak economic forecasts. So what is the good news? I'll tell you...
It is no secret that banks have ceased lending. As a consequence construction sites lie empty while builder kick their heels waiting for things to pick up. Developers cannot use the value of their assets to kick start new projects. One guy sold his Aston Martin to buy a cherry picker because the bank would not lend him the money. Unfortunately, most of us don't own an Aston Martin!
Although communities secretary Eric Pickles did his best to sound upbeat when he appeared on Sunday's Politics Show, he rather sent me to sleep reciting figures for new housing starts and the number of houses built. The figures were up on the previous year, he claimed - not a huge achievement since that previous year was the worst year for building since the 1920s. But he speaks with no urgency, no relish and no passion. And the fact is that only 136,000 houses out of 250,000 needed were built last year. That IS something to get passionate about.
As has been the case in the past, I believe it is the private sector and not the government that will have to lead the country out of recession. Our road networks, canals, water systems and railways - none were the result of government activity. They were conceived, built and funded by the private sector with the government simply legislating to enable entrepreneurs to get on with it. So that is what we will do. Because while Mr Pickles was unable to deliver some good news, I am.
Houses4Homes is open for business and keen to Marshall our resources. That means builders. If you have land or agreed developments that can be used for social housing, we are willing to buy them. It is not a prerequisite though.
Our pipeline boasts a range of schemes that we want to deliver of different sizes and across the country. To deliver the housing that Great Britain so desperately needs, we are looking for small, medium, large and specialised builders to join us as approved contractors.
The task is immense. We expect our pipeline to exceed £1billion of contract value over the next three years, with an investment strategy to match. It is our intention to keep our approved contractors busy until the end of 2015 at least: creating jobs, providing access to quality contracts and ultimately something developers can take to the bank.
I think January just got a bit better.
Interested developers can download and complete the Houses4Homes PQQ from www.houses4homes.co.uk/developments
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