RICS Chief Economist, Simon Rubinsohn, has responded to the Chancellor's Budget statement
RICS is pleased to see the Chancellor move to get small businesses building and growing again. The National Loan Guarantee Scheme, more money for the Get Britain Building Fund and streamlining the planning system are all welcome measures that should combat the growing scepticism in the construction sector and the view that SMEs are being squeezed.
The Chancellor has tried to address improving access to the mortgage market with NewBuy but amidst cracking down on stamp duty avoidance and introducing a new rate of Stamp Duty, he has missed an opportunity to reform the whole stamp duty system rather than just tampering at the edges. By replacing the slab structure with a marginal system, he could have ensured that those at the top end of the market contribute fairly as well as helping those struggling to get onto the property ladder.
London is still the only region where more surveyors are reporting price rises than falls reflecting the growing north/south divide. Progress on projects in the National Infrastructure Plan, particularly the 40 'shovel ready' projects, needs to take place as quickly as possible to begin to attract the infrastructure and the homes needed to deliver growth across the country.
Whilst credit-easing and the Get Britain Building Fund will take effect immediately, other initiatives like infrastructure development will take longer to feed through. RICS would have liked to have seen a reduction in VAT to 5% on all home, maintenance and repair work and a reinstatement of empty property rate relief up to £18,000 as immediate measures to generate jobs and growth now.
Source: Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)