This week the British Chancellor of the Exchequer submitted to the House of Commons his 2008 Pre-Budget Statement. The statement offered what was considered tax relief for small businesses and a plan to help encourage spending and boost the economy. Measures included a year-long VAT cut from 17.5% to 15%, a delay on a planned one per cent corporation tax rise on the profits of small businesses and investment in infrastructure, housing and public buildings. The Royal Institute of British Architects’ President released the following statement in response:
"We welcome the Chancellors measures aimed at stabilising the economy through the recession, and particularly the focus on small business. Giving small businesses such as architectural practices more time to pay their tax and NI bills and extending Government guarantees of small-business loans are welcome practical measures in these difficult times.
We also appreciate the cut in VAT, but we believe that a reduction to 5 percent for home refurbishment and repairs would pay huge dividends - both economically and for the environment. In this vein, while the expansion of the home insulation programme is a proactive move, we feel this can be expanded as it not only has the potential to create green jobs but also to lift people out of fuel poverty. Bringing forward public capital expenditure, such as BSF(Building Schools for the Future), is a sensible move but to get real return on investment good design mustn’t be sacrificed for the sake of speed.”