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Chancellor must focus on help for housing, says FMB

Builders organisation the Federation of Master Builders is urging George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, to focus on the housing market to support his own Government’s growth and jobs agenda in next month’s Budget.

The FMB’s recent report, ‘Tackling the Housing Crisis’, revealed that by 2015 demand for housing will 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.”

The FMB also believes that a VAT rate of 5% for all home energy efficiency installations is essential 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. Our recent research 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.

“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. 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.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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