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Budget 2013: RIBA hits out at ‘missed opportunity’ for affordable housing

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RIBA president Angela Brady has claimed the budget will ‘barely make a dent’ on delivering new homes

Chancellor George Osborne today unveiled a raft of measures to boost housing building in a bid to stimulate economic recovery.

Key policies included a £3.5 billion Help to Buy loans scheme, a fivefold increase in build to rent funding and a £225 million investment to build 15,000 new affordable homes in England by 2015

RIBA president Angela Brady welcomed the pledges but argued they would fail to stimulate the ‘desperately needed’ delivery of sustainable new homes and communities.

She said: ‘The UK is in the grip of the worst housing crisis for decades yet committing to build only a tiny proportion of the 300,000 new homes that are needed each year to meet demand. The private sector has only ever delivered around 150,000 homes a year, so whilst today’s Help to Buy announcement will enable greater access to mortgage finance, it does not sufficiently address the root cause of the housing crisis: we are not building enough homes, many of those that are being built aren’t good enough, and we cannot rely on private housebuilding alone to turn things around.

She added: ‘Government should act as a catalyst for sustainable construction growth where the market is failing to deliver. Today’s budget was the opportunity to kickstart a major programme of capital investment in new affordable homes and to lay the foundations for the green economy – on both counts the Chancellor has failed to deliver.

‘We weren’t expecting a game-changer budget today, but this country desperately needs one.’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • There are things that can be done which have a low net adverse impact, if any, on Government.
    Treat accrued grant to RSLs as a grant not a loan and allow more borrowing against the equity held
    Encourage retail investment in houisng bonds through a simplified REIT structure to help revive self enlightened philanthropy
    More clarity over the treatment of housing management and mainteance costs for tax purposes, allowing them as deduction against income in return for regulation so benefits are shared with occupiers, including reducec VAT on repairs and maintenance
    Treating local authority spending on new homes as a trading activity and allow prudentiual borrowing to fund investment
    These measures would create demand in the economy, increase the supply of homes, generate VAT receipts and income tax, reduce welfare payments both income mainteance and houisng costs and finally stimulate UK manufacturing.

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