Autumn Statement 2013: The Verdict

The Chancellor George Osborne delivered his Autumn Statement today. We looked at some reaction from the construction industry…

 

Reacting to today’s Autumn Statement, RIBA President Stephen Hodder said:

“I welcome the news that the Chancellor is introducing further measures to tackle the UK’s ongoing housing crisis. Past efforts to stimulate the housing market through Help to Buy have failed to address chronic under-supply.

“But I’m concerned the package of announcements on housing in today’s Autumn Statement don’t go far enough. Radical action is needed if we are going to address the housing crisis. So instead of merely raising the amount councils can borrow to invest in new housing, the Chancellor should have scrapped the borrowing cap on Housing Revenue Account proceeds.  And we hope that as part of the Review of the role of local government in housing supply announced today, the Government will further explore RIBA’s Future Homes Commission’s proposal for a new Local Housing Development Fund to kick-start major investment in private rented and shared ownership housing and work with Local Government Pension Funds and other institutions to remove the barriers that are currently limiting this investment. 

“We would also like to see Government provide greater incentives for councils to bring forward development forward themselves on public land and change rules on the disposal of public land to the private sector to ensure that developers increasingly bid for land based on quality rather than merely on cost. By fully exploiting the assets and powers government has at its disposal, we can ensure that we don’t just build more homes, but build the right type of homes.”

Rob Charlton gave us his reaction:

“It was encouraging to hear the Chancellor report that the economy is recovering and that he is sticking to his plan. The focus seems to be keeping a cap on public spending whilst trying to encourage growth in the private sector. There were no big announcements however several small initiatives were introduced which will all help.

“The infrastructure spending was encouraging, however it will be many years until this spending hits the ground.

“The most significant absence was any acknowledgement of a two speed recovery. The overall recovery is propped up by exponential growth in London. This hides some of the challenges still being felt in Northern cities.

“I would also have liked to see some tax breaks or incentives to bring jobs and investments to the regions. At present the safe option is to invest in London.”

 

For a roundup of the fallout, visit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-25232742.

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