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Brown's mixed budget

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Gordon Brown has resisted calls for vat to be introduced on new houses on greenfield sites. The Chancellor ducked the issue in Tuesday's budget statement and said that he had asked the paymaster general to begin consultation on the issue. The move will disappoint the riba and other supporters of brownfield development who wanted to see a greenfield tax to encourage developers to seek out derelict town centre sites. The Urban Task Force's call for the harmonisation of vat on new buildings and refurbishment at around 7 per cent was also ignored, with new building remaining zero- rated and refurbishment charged at 17.5 per cent.

There was a ray of light for architects with the increase in stamp duty to 3 per cent on houses worth more than £250,000. This could reduce the number of people moving house and mean more house extensions.

There was also good news for small practices as part of Brown's bid to help small and medium-sized enterprises. Corporation tax was cut for businesses where workers own between 5 and 25 per cent of the equity. From now the 10 per cent basic tax rate will apply to them rather than just those owning more than a quarter of the business.

Capital gains tax will be cut from 40 per cent to 10 per cent over the next four years and businesses which invest in e-commerce will be able to write these costs off against tax.

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