Budget 2014: Measures to get Britain building says Chancellor

BRITAIN needs to build more, Chancellor George Osborne said in his Budget announcement today.

To boost house building, he announced half a billion pounds of finance to small house building firms and extended the Help to Buy scheme for the rest of the decade in a bid to create 120,000 new homes.

Dave Sheridan, CEO of house builder Keepmoat, said: “Help to Buy has created a welcome stimulus to housing and made a positive economic impact on communities around the country by encouraging home ownership. As a specialist in high-quality entry-level housing, Keepmoat’s buyer profile fits perfectly with the purpose of Help to Buy, so we very much welcome the extension to 2020.  

“As a company, we are looking forward to one of our best ever years as we experience double digit growth in house construction. Over the 2014/15 financial year, Keepmoat plans to build more much needed new build houses – volumes will be up by 30% this year to 2,000 homes.

“The extension of Help to Buy will give the house building industry more confidence to plan ahead for the next six years so we can now begin to think about hiring more staff to build more homes and investing in apprentices. As a result, we are looking to increase our number of apprentices by 50%, by employing at least another 100 apprentices over the next 12 months.”

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However, Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist described the Budget as “tight” with “little room for manoeuvre”.

“Yet again, the Chancellor has failed to overhaul the stamp duty system, with wages well below inflation and rents rising rapidly for years, many have been struggling to save for a deposit, let alone meet a huge tax bill,” he said.

“Helping more buyers to enter at the lower end of the market would have resulted in more movement and transactions, freeing up stagnant property chains and bringing badly-needed housing onto the market.

“The much trailed extension of Help to Buy to 2020 is not a game changer. While it provides certainty and clarity to the market, creating another 120,000 new build properties is still a modest target. We need over 230,000 just to meet current demand. Much more needs to be done.”

Osborne said house building was up 23% but added this was not enough.

People will have a new Right to Build their own home and the Government is providing £150m of finance today to support that.

Osborne also announced it is funding regeneration of some of the urban housing estates that are in the worst condition, and extending the current Support for Mortgage Interest Scheme to 2016.