Cut VAT from 17.5 per cent (15 per cent for the next 13 months) to five per cent for all building repair and maintenance work (PDF 157 KB). Click here to download a document outlining the arguments for a VAT cut and to see how it has worked on the continent
Develop and implement a coherent strategy to deal with the UK's existing housing stock, both in terms of helping to create more homes and making the UK's existing stock more energy efficient
Set targets for all local authorities to fast track the planning process to release and designate land for social housing
Ensure responsible lending to prudent borrowers coupled with the reintroduction of mortgage interest tax relief
Simplify the planning system
Produce an implementation plan to show the precise timings and location of public spending on schools, hospitals and prisons to ensure that projects are completed in 2009 and 2010 respectively
Introduce a section 106 agreement holiday and then subsequently cap the value of section 106 agreements. Abandon the proposed Community Infrastructure Levy
Reduce the regulatory and fiscal burden
Reform stamp duty so that only higher rates of stamp duty apply to the proportion of the house price which is in the relevant band, i.e. a graduated tax like income tax
Reintroduce empty property rate relief
According to the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), the UK construction industry has 250,000 firms employing 2.1m people, and contributes 8.2 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Construction companies provide employment for every skill level from labourers to architects as well as provide the opportunity to work for every size of firm from family run businesses to major contractors. Its efficient operation and competitiveness is also essential to the fulfilment of the Government’s commitment to improve public services and infrastructure. The delivery of new schools, hospitals, affordable housing and eco homes all depend on the success of the construction sector to deliver.
The Impact of the recession on the UK construction industry
The construction industry has been particularly badly hit as a result of the recession and the down turn in the housing market, and is now facing its biggest challenge in many years. The indicators are that many will struggle to survive in the current market, with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors predicting the loss of over 300,000 jobs within the industry and with 52 per cent of SME builders warning that they will be making staff redundant over the coming months.
There is a crisis in the housing market with many first time buyers unable to get a mortgage let alone afford a first home. Alongside this there are over 90,000 families living in temporary accommodation and 1.8m families on council house waiting lists; the case for building new homes is therefore very clear. However, news from the National House Building Council shows new home starts being at their lowest level since 1924.
During the last recession the UK construction industry lost over 500,000 skilled jobs. We cannot allow that to happen again.
Mike Leonard speaking about the Spending Review cuts on the Phil Upton Show - BBC Radio WM