Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Nothing to see here, keep moving.



Without going into the details of the 2013 Budget it's worth noting that our in-house summary this year ran to a measly eight pages (including the cover) and was put together, word processed, edited bound, enveloped and on its way to the sorting office by 5:15, less than four hours after the Chancellor had sat down - a record in both lack of content and timing.

Whatever the arguments there are about inherited debt and reduction in deficit there's no getting away from the fact that George Osborne and/or his advisers seem to have little or no idea about growth stimulation in the economy as a whole. Yes there are pockets of growth, yes there are some signs of a small recovery and yes if you read some of the ONS data things do look better than the opinion you would form from reading any of the media commentators but it's a real struggle.

I am still astounded that successive Governments (of whatever political persuasion or coalition) remain reluctant, or in fact opposed, to the idea of reducing VAT on house building, conversion and repairs to 5%. It's a solution that was tried in France with great success and it would help housing associations and other social landlords do something about the one million empty properties we have in this country. There is a great concern, and rightly so, about the impact on the green belt by the 'demand' for new housing whilst the country has more vacant brownfield sites available for building on than ever before - surely we have the ideal scenario here for stimulating growth without building on yet more countryside.

6 comments:

Span Ows said...

Well Norman Lamont did ask for a 'boring budget'.

Couldn't agree more re the building on brownfield sites etc. Maybe the VAT remains high on that sort of thing due to the multi billion DIY market and is so much more than most other countries.

Paul said...

Good point re DIY - there would be a big chunk of lost revenue from trade with non-businesses but the coalition seem hell bent on making the housing market the big saviour of the economy, which shows we learn nothing from history do we, so it would seem a good idea.

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