The Government must use the upcoming budget to get the UK building in order to create growth, address the housing crisis and deliver homes and communities that people want to live in, the President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) said today, two weeks ahead of the Chancellor’s 2013 Budget.
RIBA President Angela Brady has called on the Government to:
Increase capital investment in new infrastructure, public buildings and housing to kickstart economic growth. Provide the mechanisms to finance the delivery of 300,000 high quality new homes each year* and immediate action to start building the next generation of eco-friendly garden cities
Create and promote a comprehensive inventory of all publicly-owned land, and detail the sites that can be sold to developers in order to attract innovative development and create local growth. Sites sold to developers by Government should be developed though design and community-led competitions, ensuring long-term value is prioritised ahead of short-term revenue
Reduce the rate of VAT on building refurbishment from 20% to 5% and adapt the existing 0% VAT rate for new-build to incentivise high quality sustainable homes. This new ‘Payment by Results’ 0% VAT rate for new-build would be applied only where the scheme meets a specified level above building regulations and an increased 5% rate would be applied for those that fail to meet high sustainability standard
Additional funding to bolster local authority planning and housing delivery teams, to ensure councils have the skills and expertise to help deliver sustainable growth in construction and address the chronic skills shortages that are holding back development
RIBA President Angela Brady said:
'After 5 years of economic turmoil, it is time for the Government to use this Budget to do more to support the UK economy and construction industry by getting this country building. Every £1 of investment in construction activity generates £2.84 of economic activity - the construction industry is the place to start if the Government is truly committed to generating growth and jobs in this country.
'We are in the grip of the worst housing crisis for decades but only building a tiny proportion of the homes needed to meet demand; the Government must use the 2013 Budget to deliver a minimum of 300,000 desperately-needed affordable new homes in the next year.
'It is imperative also that the right incentives and capacity are built into the system to ensure that we deliver development and growth that is truly sustainable and leads to the best social outcomes. Short-sighted policies now will cost us dear in the future.'