Federation calls for housing boost

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THE Chancellor George Osborne is urged to include housing to support the Government’s growth and jobs agenda in the forthcoming budget.

The Federation of Master Builders commissioned a report “Tackling the Housing Crisis” which revealed that by 2015 demand for housing would outstrip supply by more than half a million homes.

FMB director of external affairs Brian Berry said: “First time buyers are still struggling to get on the housing ladder and the impact of this has been fewer homes being built despite the pent up demand.

“Clearly, more needs to be done to help those currently struggling to purchase their own home, which is why we are calling on the Government to reverse its decision to reduce the Stamp Duty threshold for first time buyers from the end of March.”

In addition to measures to support the house building industry the FMB wants the Chancellor to provide more businesses with the confidence to respond to the forthcoming Green Deal energy saving programme.

“We know the market for upgrading our existing homes to make them greener and more energy efficient is potentially worth billions to the UK economy,” said Mr Berry.

“Therefore, the Government must ensure the £200 million Green Deal incentive fund is used to drive demand and enable the market to grow.

“Currently consumer confidence in the economy is rock bottom and the home improvement market is suffering as a result.

“For the Green Deal to be a success the Government must use the incentive fund to help households that take part early on in the programme to repay the Green Deal charge on their electricity bills.”

The FMB is also campaigning for the introduction of the reduced rate of 5 per cent VAT for all home energy efficiency installations to support the Green Deal.

“A reduced rate of VAT is a logical step that will make energy efficiency measures more affordable and Green Deal packages more attractive. Recent research commissioned by the FMB suggests this change would come at a relatively small cost to the Treasury and would help to achieve a number of environmental, economic and social policy objectives,” said Mr Berry.