Budget 2015: property industry backs defining step on road to unleash regional growth

The British Property Federation has welcomed George Osborne’s final budget as a welcome further step on the road to meaningful devolution that could unlock infrastructure and development across the UK.

British Property Federation Chief Executive Melanie Leech said: “Despite the limited time left in this Parliament, and the Chancellor’s limited scope for pre-election giveaways, the further devolution heralded in this Budget may have profound and far-reaching consequences. The challenge for the next Parliament is to continue on this journey and to make good the promise of reforms that will allow places across the length and breadth of the country to thrive.

“We are delighted that the Government has listened to the calls of the property industry and others to further increase the power of local authorities to shape development and growth in their areas through a raft of initiatives including new City Deals, Enterprise Zones and powers over skills, business support and transport.

“We also applaud the Government’s focus on bringing forward brownfield land and unused public sector sites for development. However, we would urge all parties to recognise that housing is more than just a numbers game – thriving, sustainable communities need places to work, to relax, and a host of other infrastructure that we need in our day to day lives.

“The infrastructure funding challenge is one of the greatest obstacles to growth, but the package of business rates announcements this week – greater retention by local authorities and a fundamental review of the business rates system – may provide part of the solution by allowing cities to finance new projects against a secure stream of rates income.”

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