On 20 March 2013, British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivered his Budget to Parliament, announcing several points which may be of interest to UK architects. These include:
- £15bn investment in road, rail and construction projects by 2020, starting with £3bn in 2015
- the potential to loosen restrictions on change of use properties to include agricultural and retail buildings which may be transformed into residential properties
- a £5.4bn package of financial support to tackle long-term problems in the housing market including the launch of Help to Buy - which offers two schemes aimed at helping those who want to get on, or move up, the housing ladder
RIBA President Angela Brady said of the news: “The construction industry shrank by 8% last year and we are continuing to see disappointingly low levels of housebuilding. Although the announcements for further spending on housing and infrastructure are to be welcomed, it will barely make a dent in the delivery of the sustainable new homes and communities we desperately need.
“Government should act as a catalyst for sustainable construction growth where the market is failing to deliver. Today’s Budget was the opportunity to kickstart a major programme of capital investment in new affordable homes and to lay the foundations for the green economy - on both counts the Chancellor has failed to deliver.”