2013 Budget: A missed opportunity on affordable housing and green growth

The 2013 Budget has failed to provide the stimulus for construction that will be needed to deal with the country’s housing crisis and support the beleaguered construction industry, the President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) said today in response to the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s 2013 Budget.

RIBA President Angela Brady said:

'The construction industry shrank by 8% last year and we are continuing to see disappointingly low levels of housebuilding. Although the announcements today for further spending on housing and infrastructure are to be welcomed, it will barely make a dent in the delivery of the sustainable new homes and communities we desperately need.

'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.

'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.' 


Notes to editors

  1. *One of the recommendations of the Future Homes Commission report on the quality of newly built housing in the UK. Read the report here:http://www.architecture.com/HomeWise/FutureHomesCommission
  2. For further press information contact Melanie Mayfield in the RIBA Press Office: 020 7307 3662 melanie.mayfield@riba.org
  3. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members www.architecture.com
  4. Follow us on Twitter for regular RIBA updates www.twitter.com/RIBA   
  5. In advance of the budget, RIBA President Angela Brady 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.