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Abolish borrowing cap to satisfy housing targets – MPs

LONDON (Reuters) – British MPs mentioned on Monday that elevating the borrowing cap on native authorities to spice up the provision of latest houses and a minimize within the tax paid by first-time consumers wouldn’t “fix the broken housing market”, because the government had pledged.

Chancellor Philip Hammond mentioned in his finances speech in November he would get native councils “building again” by permitting them to bid to extend their caps by as much as 1 billion kilos by the top of 2021-22.

The enhance was a part of a raft of measures geared toward rising the provision of latest houses by a internet 300,00zero by the mid-2020s.

The Treasury Select Committee, nonetheless, mentioned with personal builders offering about 150,00zero new houses a 12 months, native councils wanted the cap to be abolished utterly in the event that they have been to extend provide sufficient to bridge the shortfall.

“The increase in the cap on borrowing for local authorities to build homes is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t go far enough,” mentioned Treasury Committee chair Nicky Morgan, a member of Prime Minister Theresa May’s ruling Conservatives.

Rows of homes are seen in North Kensington, London, Britain June 29, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

“The borrowing cap restricts the number of homes that local authorities could deliver. To achieve the government target of 300,000 new homes per year, the cap should be abolished. The potential of local authorities to build should be unleashed.”

The committee additionally famous that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) had mentioned abolishing property buy tax on the primary 300,00zero kilos of any property costing as much as 500,00zero kilos for first-time consumers would lead to solely three,500 further individuals having the ability to purchase their first home.

“In isolation, the reduction in stamp duty is likely to increase prices for first-time buyers by as much, if not more, than the amount they save as a reduction in stamp duty,” it mentioned.

The committee additionally mentioned the government wanted to agree transitional preparations with the European Union for a interval after Britain leaves the EU to encourage personal funding and assist enhance Britain’s persistently low productiveness.

“The government’s commitment to increase public investment is welcome, but a revival in productivity also requires action from the private sector,” Morgan mentioned.

“The OBR expects a fall in private sector investment due to Brexit-related uncertainty. An agreement between the UK and the EU27 (remaining members of the EU) on a ‘standstill’ transitional arrangements is therefore urgent.”

Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Adrian Croft

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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