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Measures to boost building announced in Budget

Measures to boost building announced in BudgetChancellor announces raft of measures aimed at tackling housing shortage in 2014 Budget.Chancellor George Osborne used his 2014 Budget to address the problems faced by the building industry, unveiling a range of measures to boost housing supply.Some £500 million is to be provided to assist small building firms, helping to stimulate local construction projects. It is estimated the funding will unlock 15,000 housing units that have stalled due to difficulties gaining access to finance. Funding of £150 million was also pledged to help regenerate social housing estates. A prospectus is to be published on garden cities, following the chancellor's announcement that a new urban development is to be started at Ebbsfleet in Kent, where 15,000 new homes are to be constructed.New housing will also be built at Barking and Brent Cross, Mr Osborne stated. As previously announced, the chancellor said the government would extend the Help to Buy equity loan scheme for the rest of the decade, which will support the provision of 120,000 homes."Taken all together, the housing policies I announce today will support over 200,000 new homes for families," Mr Osborne announced."We're getting Britain building."Federation of Master Builders (FMB) chief executive Brian Berry welcomed the measures. He said they would help small building firms gain access to finance, as many banks are reluctant to fund small residential developments.However, he expressed disappointment with the government's refusal to reduce VAT on housing renovation and repair - a move for which the FMB has been lobbying."A reduction in VAT to five per cent on housing renovation and repair is the simplest and most effective way to empower home owners to refurbish their properties to make them more energy efficient and cheaper to run," Mr Berry said.National chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses John Allan also welcomed the chancellor's housing policies.He said these would serve to maintain confidence in the construction sector, which has been rising during the past year.Mr Allan welcomed the support for small housebuilders, which will help them access contracts and work. 

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