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Taxing times

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It is not only architects who worry about PFI design quality.

No less a personage than Sir John Egan has joined the fray.

The man who encouraged new procurement methods through his 'Rethinking Construction' report for government now believes we are building a generation of schools and hospitals 'often very badly'. He thinks we won't be building them any better at the end of the process than when we started.

These trenchant remarks were delivered to the annual lunch of the British Council for Offices, where his main theme was a problem about commercial property taxes. They account for almost 4.5 per cent of UK national income - more than in 29 other OECD countries. Hence, he believes, the relatively low investment in building stock.

And watch out for Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT ), coming in this December, which widens the scope of stamp duty, another sign that government regards workplace property as a fixed asset which can be taxed without adverse consequences. Don't suppose Gordon is listening.

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