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CBI calls for policy reforms to increase housing supply

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has written to chancellor George Osborne urging the government to do more to boost the supply of housing in the UK.Its recommendations form part of a number of proposals aimed to make British businesses more internationally competitive. Announced in advance of the budget on March 19th, the CBI's priorities include reforms to the energy market, measures to boost investments and exports and support for small and medium-sized firms.The CBI welcomes the measures taken by the government to stimulate housing demand, saying this has contributed to the construction recovery. However, it says more needs to be done to increase the supply of homes in order to support local economic growth and meet the needs of a growing population.It recommends a "holistic package" of reforms to the housing sector to address a range of policy issues.Extending plans for a "Rightmove-type website" to all parts of the the public sector is advocated by the CBI, which says the database should also include local authorities and non-departmental bodies. Local authorities need to be held accountable for the obligation to set aside five years' land supply for house builders; they should also provide clear information on their plans and cooperate with their neighbouring councils to ensure sufficient homes are built in the right places to serve the whole local economy. Finally, the CBI recommends doing more to attract institutional investment in the private rental sector. The government needs to introduce a private rented sector guarantee scheme and tackle the tax burden faced by investors when contemplating an investment decision in this sector. John Cridland, CBI director-general, said: "We simply aren't building enough affordable housing in the UK - the government must make a concerted effort to boost supply, particularly for the private rental sector."The CBI says its reforms should be introduced in a fiscally neutral way, paid for through reform to the public services and the growth in tax revenues created by the economic recovery. This will ensure the government's deficit-reduction targets are met. 

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