Budget 2013: what does it mean for the real-estate sector?

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On 20 March, George Osborne delivered a budget for an ‘aspiration nation’, but there was little in there to excite the real-estate sector apart from on housing. There was also news on planning reform, infrastructure and a strengthening of the resolve to crack down on tax avoidance. There was no mention of business rates, however, which will leave many disappointed.

Buried in the detail is a proposed consultation on allowing further flexibilities between use classes to support change of use from certain agricultural and retail uses to residential use. Following on the back of the three year office to residential relaxation, it will be interesting to see the extent of the proposals and what their effect will be in either kick-starting the high street or effecting a permanent change of dynamic. Significantly reduced planning guidance will be available by the summer in line with Lord Matthew Taylor’s recommendations. Simplicity and clarity is promised and it is hoped that the system will become more accessible. Plans for shortening judicial review time limits are promised in the spring, whilst even further streamlining measures will be developed by the summer…

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