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Massive investment in primary school building stock unveiled in Budget

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Gordon Brown has delivered his pre-election budget this afternoon, unveiling two features likely to please Britain's architectural community.

The chancellor unveiled a series of measures aimed at continuing the steady economic growth seen over the last decade.

However, he failed to reduce VAT on all building renovations, a move that some observers had suggested he might undertake.

The two most significant announcements for architects were:

    a new building and refurbishment programme for primary schools - £9.4 billion over the next five years.

    extension of the VAT refund scheme for churches and sacred places to 2008, and expansion of the scheme to include the construction and repair of memorials.

Speaking minutes after Brown sat down, RIBA president George Ferguson said he was pleased with the speech.

'Investment in the fabric of our primary schools is fundamental to a civilised and educated society,' he said. 'It is vital that every school project should embrace good design.'

by Ed Dorrell

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