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Government should list council and quango land, says CBI

Land held by councils and quangos should be listed on the government’s proposed Rightmove-style website of central government sites, the CBI has told the chancellor.

In its Budget submission, the Confederation of British Industry said the proposal would help housebuilding.

It also said councils should be held accountable for meeting their obligation to provide five-year land supplies under planning regulations and work with neighbouring authorities to ensure enough homes are provided to serve the economy.

The CBI said the private rented sector guarantee scheme should be increased and the government should reduce the effect of VAT on repairs on the returns of investors in the sector.

It said government investment in infrastructure should be at least maintained at its current share of GDP rather than declining from 1.6 per cent in 2014/15 to 1.3 per cent in 2018/19 as is currently planned.

The group also lobbied for capital allowances to cover structures and buildings to make private investment energy and roads attractive.

Its other proposals included bringing the UK carbon price into line with the European price and a freeze on air passenger duty.

It said the package would cost a total of just under £1 billion in 2014/15 rising to just over £2.8 billion by 2018/19 should be financed by savings elsewhere in the public sector such as greater use of shared services and “opening up markets to new ideas and ways of working” and sales of  public assets.

CBI director general John Cridland said: “We simply aren’t building enough affordable housing in the UK – the government must make a concerted effort to boost supply, particularly for the private rental sector.”

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