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Budget 2013: Response from SitexOrbis

21 March 2013

Mark Cosh, director of SitexOrbis has responded to the 2013 budget, including the housing, pubs and fuel duty

With respect to housing, Mark Cosh said: ''The impetus given to building new houses to help to alleviate the housing shortage in the UK is excellent news. The increase in the Build to Rent fund from £200 million to £1 billion to support development of more homes in England together with the doubling of the existing Affordable Homes Guarantee Programme, will go some way to reduce the housing shortage. It will also create significant jobs in construction, housing and facilities management.

''The changes to the Right to Buy scheme to give more social tenants the opportunity of home ownership is also positive. By reducing the qualifying period from five years to three years and raising the maximum discount cash cap in London to £100,000, more tenants will be able to buy their council homes. But this must be accompanied by the new build programme set out above or it risks reducing the available housig stock for vulnerable people.

''At the same time, we need to see more emphasis on getting void properties back into relettable condition, rather than just focusing on new builds. Empty social housing reduces the sense of neighbourhood in areas and, without proper management, can become a magnet for crime and other anti-social behaviour.''

On pubs, Cosh said: ''The news that general beer duty will be reduced by 2 per cent from Monday (25 March 2013), which is worth 1 penny on a pint of beer, the escalator for beer duty next year will be cancelled and instead increases by inflation thereafter, is great news for community pubs – and will hopefully help to stem the time of pub closures. These again can become an eyesore within a community and encourage crime.''

And on fuel duty, he said: ''We welcome the news that the planned 1.89 pence fuel duty increase, which was set to come into force in September 2013, has been cancelled. Although we use the latest technical innovations to reduce the need for travel, we have a fleet of more than 200 vehicles and this move will allow us to continue to keep our costs low for our customers. The new tax incentives for ultra low-emission cars will also encourage us to look at lower-emission options to further reduce our environmental impact.''

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