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PRE-BUDGET REPORT: NHBC and CPA call for fast track housing work

Construction trade organisations are calling for the Government to fast track housing work in its Pre-Budget Report.

The National House-Building Council and the Construction Products Association are leading the calls for Government funding to give priority to housebuilding.

The Construction Products Association said there would be little point in fast tracking other publicly funded projects because in many cases there is little to do move them forward more quickly.

But the association said much could be done on making housing work happen now while also calling for tax relief to be given to energy saving devices rather than cutting VAT on fuel itself.

Focusing on measures to kick start the housing market are backed by analysts at Deloitte.

Deloitte real estate tax partner Phil Nicklin said the Government should mitigate the stamp duty cost of assembling residential portfolios to encourage investors to buy more homes.

Currently the rate of stamp duty is determined by the price paid for the whole portfolio, rather than the price of each individual property - which might enjoy a lower rate of stamp duty.

Mr Nicklin added: “Changes to the empty property rate relief which came into effect on 1 April 2008 were intended to prevent property standing empty and to stabilise rent.

“However, the costs are proving to be prohibitive for many property groups in the current economic.

“We hope the PBR will include a review of empty property rate relief, potentially to revert to the regime that existed before 1 April 2008 which gave a partial relief for shops and offices and a full relief for industrial premises.”

Meanwhile the Civil Engineering Contractors Association is calling for accelerated expenditure on public sector infrastructure work.

CECA says that 8,400 jobs will be shed by small and medium sized firms unless publicly sector work is fast tracked now.