CHANCELLOR George Osborne has missed an opportunity to boost growth, cut carbon emissions and reduce householders’ fuel bills by failing to support energy efficiency in the home in his Autumn Statement, it is claimed.
Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “The Chancellor should have taken the opportunity to support the Government’s own Green Deal energy-efficiency initiative by introducing more incentives, including a lower rate of VAT on housing repair, maintenance and improvement work to encourage homeowners to take advantage of the Green Deal.
“Local building companies are best placed for this type of work, but are reluctant to jump through the hoops involved without stronger market demand.”
He said: “The £5bn for capital investment is good news and clearly shows the Government recognises the positive impact a growing construction sector has on the economy. However, the Chancellor should have done more beyond the measures to support 120,000 new homes already announced. That is just half the number of new homes needed each year to meet current demand.”
Meanwhile, property agency Lambert Smith Hampton said the Government had not gone far enough with a ruling that all newly built commercial property completed between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016 will be exempt from empty property rates for the first 18 months, up to the state aids limit and subject to consultation.