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FMB welcomes government housing focus

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has welcomed the government's focus on housing in its National Infrastructure Plan.Increasing the nation's supply of homes is an important part of the plan and FMB chief executive Brian Berry said this is pleasing."Given the scale of the housing crisis we face, I’m encouraged to see housing considered alongside long-term infrastructure planning. It is more pleasing still that housing delivery is being viewed in a much more comprehensive way than we have seen before," he stated.Mr Berry praised the fact the National Infrastructure Plan has given an equal focus to the need for small developments to meet housing demand as it has to larger projects, such as the development of a new garden town at Bicester. The FMB leader said this is important, as the government can often "fall into the trap of being excessively focused on large projects". He added that smaller projects have frequently been held back by the cost and complex nature of the planning process for minor operations.As part of the National Infrastructure Plan the government has pledged to publish data regarding process times for smaller project applications, something Mr Berry believes will lead to an increase in productivity.He concluded by stating that should the government continue with this "comprehensive approach" to housing, there is a good chance the nation's growing demand for new homes will be met.Mr Berry's comments have coincided with the release of the chancellor's Autumn Statement, which revealed the coalition has reformed stamp duty regulation. From now on, the charge is only due on the part of a property price which falls into a particular tax band. For example, on a £185,000 home, the buyer would now only need to pay a two per cent tax on the £60,000 over the £125,000 threshold introduced by the government.This works out at £1,200, £650 cheaper than under the previous rules, when one per cent of the overall property price was charged. As a result of this reform, the coalition said stamp duty will be cut for 98 per cent of people who pay it, something that may have a positive knock-on effect for the construction sector. 

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