Sector responds to Budget
Organisations from across the housing sector have responded to announcements made by the chancellor during his Budget speech.
Charities, housing bodies and planning groups have all voiced their opinions on the Budget which was revealed in the House of Commons today (Wednesday).
Here is a selection of their thoughts:
Grainia Long, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: ‘What causes concern here is the move to put a cap on the additional costs of Universal Credit of up to £2.5 billion per year in the next spending review (in addition to the £2 billion in this spending review).
‘Does this signal an acknowledgement by government of the complexity and likely unintended consequences of moving to a centralised system from a localised support system, which has been developed with a focus on advice and protecting the most vulnerable over a number of years?’
David Salusbury, chair, National Landlords Association, said: ‘While the NLA believes the Government is justified in closing the Stamp Duty loophole to prevent tax avoidance, the Treasury should not ignore the impact these measures will have on legitimate companies which buy property to let as their primary business activity.
‘This is likely to adversely influence investment decisions made by landlords who operate as small businesses and provide much needed housing.’
Harry Cotterell, president of Country Land and Business Association, said: ‘It is excellent news the government has resisted calls from organisations that campaigned so vigorously to have the vital ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ ripped out of the NPPF.
‘This element of reform is absolutely essential for the planning system to work effectively.’
Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: ‘We welcome the publication of the NPPF before the end of the month, and have repeatedly urged the Government to stand firm on their pro-growth stance.
‘We do, however, believe that a few modifications could be made to clarify the framework, and to ensure that it really does allow sustainable development and encourage local authorities to complete their local plans.
‘Greater clarity concerning the transitional arrangements is desperately needed, and it is crucial that local authorities receive significant support to get local plans in place.’
Anna Scott-Marshall, head of external affairs at the Royal Institute of British Architects, said: ‘Whilst the RIBA welcomes the additional funding for the Get Britain Building scheme, we urge the government to ensure that developers and developments selected for funding meet the highest quality credentials so homebuyers benefit as well as house builders.’
David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: ‘Social tenants - including those in work - are facing significant cuts in their support for housing costs under the Welfare Reform Act.
‘We are concerned that the chancellor wants to make further savings on welfare payments before the impact of the current cuts on families has been understood. The government should wait to assess the impact of the bedroom tax, the overall benefit cap and the shift to Universal Credit before embarking on a fresh round of changes.
‘The best way of reducing the welfare bill is to get people into work. Economic growth - which can be boosted by building new homes - is central to this.’
Jonathan Cox, social housing partner at Anthony Collins Solicitors, said: ‘The lack of government funding for development has created a significant shortfall in both social and affordable homes across the UK – as a result, new sources of funding must be explored in order to bridge the gap.
‘The additional £150m to be channeled into the Get Britain Building Fund and the £270 million boost to the Growing Places Fund is a step in the right direction, but it would be encouraging to see more solid plans in place to deliver affordable housing at a time when it is needed most.
‘There will be some disappointment that the government did not expand on social housing REITs, which has the potential to provide a viable means of driving investment into the social housing sector, although the government’s commitment to providing £150m for Tax Increment Financing schemes is encouraging – TIF may well prove a successful means of financing public-private sector development.’
Brendan Sarsfield, chief executive of Family Mosaic, said: ‘We welcome the government’s plans to consult on the potential role of a social housing Real Estate Investment Trust. Although we are not convinced that most housing associations need a REIT alternative currently, any changes that bring new investors into the market could be beneficial. Most importantly, any proposed changes to the sector must ensure that commercial interests do not override social ones.’