RIBA president Jane Duncan has hit out at George Osborne’s Budget statement saying it fails to answer questions about how the government plans to address the housing crisis
The RIBA president urged the chancellor to give greater borrowing powers to local councils in order for them to invest in housing.
Her comments followed yesterday’s (17 March) Budget announcement in which Osborne revealed further plans for devolution and investment in infrastructure but said very little about tackling the current housing crisis.
Duncan, said: ‘There are too many unanswered questions about how the government plans to address the housing crisis affecting every part of the country. Councils need to be given greater borrowing powers to invest in new housing.
‘The continued focus on home ownership means that there are huge parts of the market where private developers and housing associations either can’t or won’t invest.’
Duncan welcomed the changes to business rates which she said would be well received by small practices. In a boost for small firms, the threshold for business rate relief is set to rise from £6,000 to £15,000.
‘The changes to the rules on business rates and national insurance contributions will be well received by RIBA architects working on their own or at smaller practices’, said Duncan.
She also added that Osborne’s plans for further devolution could offer opportunities for architects.
Duncan commented: ‘Planned investments to infrastructure projects in London and the North of England are a welcome boost to capacity. Further devolution deals will be an ideal opportunity for architects to work with communities on housing, planning and transport issues that ensure we get more high quality affordable homes for everyone.’
Budget 2016: at a glance