BMF welcomes Budget support for homebuilding

Published:  20 March, 2014

The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has welcomed the Chancellor’s Budget for “makers, doers and savers” as broadly positive for the building supply industry.

BMF managing director John Newcomb said: “We are pleased to see the support for homebuilding. In addition to extending the Help to Buy equity loan scheme, a £500m loan fund for SME builders will help unblock 15,000 plots stalled due to difficulty in obtaining finance.

“A further £150m of new money as repayable loans will support those wanting to build their own home, which is again good news for merchants and their customers.

“In total, the government is projecting the building of 200,000 new homes and by invigorating the market with such schemes, ministers recognise that construction is a primary driver of home-grown economic activity, and more has to be done to meet demand.”

However, Mr Newcomb expressed disappointment that the Chancellor had not included incentives to stimulate demand for energy-efficient home improvement and RMI work.

“While the support for new homes is very welcome, little has been done to support RMI and in particular stimulate energy-efficient upgrades in our existing housing stock,” said Mr Newcomb. “Aside from the capping of the Carbon Floor Price to assist energy-intensive industries, including ceramics and glassmaking, the Chancellor did little in this Budget to drive a low-carbon Britain.”

The BMF did, however, welcome the Chancellor’s decision to keep or extend several business support schemes and tax reliefs to help firms take long-term investment decisions. These include:

  • Apprenticeship grant for employers increased by £85m in years 2014/15 and 2015/16. In addition, £20m over two years to support apprenticeships to post-graduate level
  • Annual Investment Allowance doubled from £250,000 to £500,000 and extended until the end of 2015 (effective immediately)
  • Finance to help exporters doubled to £3bn and interest rates charged on this lending are cut by a third for borrowers
  • Research and development tax relief for loss-making firms is increased from 11% to 14.5% from April 2014
  • Main rate of Corporation Tax drops to 21% from April 2014 and to 20% in April 2015
  • Workers aged under 21 taken out of Employers' National Insurance altogether
  • The Fuel Duty intended for September will not take place this year.

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