£10m loan fund to help construction firms in Wales

Builders at work The scheme could create up to 310 direct and indirect jobs and safeguard around 250

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A £10m fund supporting smaller scale building projects could provide a boost to the stagnant construction industry.

The Wales Property Development Fund has been set up in response to demand from small and medium-size construction companies.

The loan scheme could create up to 310 direct and indirect jobs and safeguard about 250 others, the Welsh government said.

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) welcomed the move.

The UK's construction industry remains weak despite signs of a recovery, statistics revealed last month.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed output in the industry rose 5.5% in February from the month before.

'Real need'

But output was still 7% lower than February last year.

The new scheme will be funded by the Welsh government and managed by Finance Wales.

Economy Minister Edwina Hart said: "This fund meets a real need to help small-scale property developers access much needed finance to fund development in both the commercial and residential markets."

FMB Cymru spokesperson Ifan Glyn said: "We welcome the new fund, as it is clearly designed to enable access to funding for viable building businesses in Wales and to boost the SME [small and medium enterprises] construction sector.

"Our recent State of Trade Survey gave real signs for optimism that the Welsh building industry may be turning a corner, and our members are also telling us they are more hopeful about the future after some very difficult years for construction in Wales."

He added: "While we welcome any steps aimed at revitalising the construction sector, it is important to remember we still have some way to go to secure sustained economic recovery for Wales's smaller builders; the architects of this policy must now ensure fair access for viable firms, and should also continue to explore all options to build on these positive foundations."

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