Budget: big disappointment

Published:  24 March, 2010

LONDON: Today's Budget contained no surprises for the building industry. Michael Ankers, chief executive of the Construction Products Association, said the chief disappointment was the lack of any help for householders to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

"We have consistently called for the Government to extend both the list of energy saving products that are eligible for a lower rate of VAT and the boiler scrappage scheme," he said.

The CPA said that prospects for the construction industry over the next few years will be determined more by the measures taken by the new Government after the election – including the next comprehensive spending review – than anything that has been announced today.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said: "Measures to help boost the housing market are welcome and will benefit a significant number of buyers, removing 50% of transactions from the stamp duty system. We estimate  that raising the initial stamp duty threshold will cost the Government around £750m."

RICS believes that greater reform of stamp duty is still needed. The current structure, where a higher rate applies to the whole value of a transaction, should be replaced with a marginal system similar to income tax. This would smooth out distortions in the market and can be done on a revenue-neutral basis.

The Home Builders Federation said: "Alistair Darling's scrapping of stamp duty up to £250 000 for first-time buyers is a huge boost to the housing market. It will provide a massive fillip to hard-pressed first-time buyers who have seen their aspirations for home ownership dashed by harsh lending conditions."

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