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Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Planning gain and other budget news
Various development news coming out of the budget today and if I find time I will comment properly on it later. Gordon Brown confirmed plans to introduce a new planning gain supplement and real estate investment trusts in today's budget speech although he gave no further details on the plans to introduce the two schemes by the lunchtime news. Brown also pledged £970m to support shared equity schemes, which he said would help 35,000 first-time buyers onto the housing ladder. The housing benefit that was currently paid into shared equity schemes would be used to pay for further housebuilding.

He also pledged an investment of £50m in electricity microgeneration technology to create renewable sources of energy such as wind turbines and photovoltaic panels for schools, businesses and local authority tenants. Other energy measures include a pledge to insulate a further 250,000 homes over the next two years and a new £1bn environmental and energy institute in the UK. Brown also revealed plans for a £30bn sell-off of government assets by 2010, including the sale of Westinghouse, the Tote, and the government's stake in British Energy.

Despite media speculation, the chancellor said nothing about PFI in his speech, or the health service. However, he promised £34bn of new investment in schools over the coming five years, with the aim of raising spending per pupil in state schools to the same level as in the private sector. He said that this would include spending on teachers, facilities and buildings.

On the Olympics, Brown announced plans to set up PPPs across the country that would build facilities to encourage grassroots sports. A memorial is also to be built to the victims of last year's July 7 terror attacks. In general business-related taxes, corporation tax will not change. (via Building MAgazine)

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