Putting the LOCAL back into house-building

By on 05/02/2014 in Cllr Ali, News

This is a speech given by Councillor Tahir Ali, cabinet member for development, jobs and skills, to local house builders this morning. Birmingham is the first city to set up a builders’ club, aimed at starting a conversation about how small house builders can be supported and encouraged.

“My portfolio within the City Council links development with jobs and with skills. The three go hand-in-hand if we truly want to see Birmingham prosper as the country’s second city.

“There has been a lot of talk recently about how Birmingham is supporting job creation. We have the fastest growing start-up of new businesses across all core cities.

Cllr Tahir Ali

Cllr Tahir Ali

“We have continued building and selling houses over the duration of the economic downturn, creating our own award-winning vehicle for providing council houses and making sure that investment continued to flow into the city.

“Last year my cabinet colleagues and I launched the Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility which is all about trying to keep investment within Birmingham, making sure that local businesses have the best possible chance to secure part of the £1bn of investment the Council spends every year on providing services.

“This has strong links to Find it in Birmingham which I hope you are all signed up to so that you can see the range of opportunities that are available to small and medium sized enterprises that are located here in the city. We as the council are very much open for business - your business in fact.

“We are now at a point where our house building programme will be more diverse than previously. Yes there will be some big sites where the usual house builders will offer us up the best economies of scale and its right that development opportunities at that level sit with those companies who are best placed to take the risk and reward associated with the scale of those opportunities.

“But in contrast to those, we also have an emerging portfolio of much smaller sites, some being as small as building one or two houses.

“We already know that the big players in house building aren't interested in this small scale of development and that's where you come in. We want to make it possible for SMEs (small and medium enterprises) like yourselves to be able to secure this type of work in the future.

“We also want to de-mystify a lot of the bureaucracy that tends to surround the council. Yes, we know we are a big organisation, but today is the start of having a continuing dialogue with you about how we work, and how we can work better with you.

“So, let's start that conversation today. We set very high standards for our new build housing so you are going to have to reach those standards. But Im assuming your wouldn't be here today if you didn't want to make sure that your business was associated with success. So I really hope we can see some of the people in this room stepping up to the mark and helping us continue to BUILD BIRMINGHAM. There's a lot to do!”

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