BPF: Chancellor right to focus on planning but skills strategy needed after decade of under-funding
The British Property Federation, the voice of the UK property sector, has reacted to measures announced today (22 November 2023) in the Autumn Statement.
Melanie Leech, Chief Executive, British Property Federation said:
“We know that two of the biggest blockers to delivering the homes, workplaces and vibrant communities needed across the country are an inefficient planning system and delivery of the right infrastructure, and the Chancellor is right to focus on these as part of a wider plan to boost business investment and stimulate growth.
“However, the planning system can only work more effectively, and be held to account for delivering swifter outcomes, if it is resourced properly. The planning system has been under-funded for at least a decade and its expertise in handling major projects hollowed out. We need a long-term planning skills strategy for local authorities to enable them to determine applications more quickly and make increasingly complex decisions that balance sustainability, heritage and local need.”
On full expensing
“Confirmation that full expensing will continue is welcome but the Chancellor missed an opportunity to go further and incentivise investment to upgrade older commercial and residential buildings to make them more energy efficient. Tax relief on future profits will not impact the viability of complex retrofit projects and the Chancellor should have delivered ‘above the line’ measures such as tax credits for green plant and a zero VAT-rating for residential refurbishments.”
On business rates
“Measures to provide relief for small businesses are welcome but only scratch the surface. The Chancellor should have gone further and frozen the multiplier for all businesses to prevent the unsustainable burden on the high street rising even higher.”