20 March 2014

Associations welcome Budget boost for housebuilding and manufacturing

The Construction Products Association (CPA) has welcomed the Chancellor's 2014 Budget Statement announced yesterday (19 March), which backs British manufacturers and builders.
Chief executive of the association, Dr Diana Montgomery, said: 'Having highlighted the need for government clarity around its plans to support house building, we are pleased that the Help to Buy scheme has been extended to 2020. We have already seen this have a real impact on the ground in generating new starts, and are confident that this greater medium-term clarity will further incentivise builders.

She continued: 'The government further recognises the need to make the UK an attractive place for manufacturing investment, and to that end it was important to hear the Chancellor offer support to energy-intensive manufacturers with a £7 billion package, including the cap on the carbon price floor until the end of the decade, along with new compensation for the rising costs of the Renewable Obligation and the Feed-In Tariffs.

'Finally, we were pleased by plans - which exceed our recommendations - to double the annual investment allowance to £500,000 and extend it to the end of 2015, benefitting millions of SMEs. The government will need to think bigger, however, if it wants to attract significant investment into the UK from major multi-nationals.'

Dr Montgomery concluded, 'All of this was good news for UK plc and our members; however, what was starkly missing was any indication that energy efficiency was relevant to the future of the UK's built environment. We continue to press the government to recognise the tremendous potential for improving the housing and commercial building stock, and thereby not only back British builders and manufacturers but also improve the cost of living for home owners.'

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has also welcomed the Chancellor's Budget announcement of a £500 million Builders Finance Fund for small house builders, saying it will provide a major boost for housing supply.

FMB chief executive, Brian Berry, said: 'Access to finance is a major stumbling block for viable SME house builders so this government intervention is much needed as many major banks are still reluctant to lend for small residential developments. This additional support will provide the necessary finance to small house builders and help increase the overall supply of new housing through a well-functioning SME sector.'

Mr Berry added: 'Unfortunately today's Budget overlooks the need to make our existing homes an infrastructure investment priority. A reduction in VAT to 5% on housing renovation and repair is the simplest and most effective way to empower home owners to refurbish their properties to make them more energy efficient and cheaper to run. This cut in VAT would provide a £15bn economic stimulus over five years and up to 95,000 jobs which re much needed while our economy is still in recovery.'

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