Green-belt tax gets property sector backing

A majority of property investors and surveyors say the new Labour government should tax green-belt development, according to a survey by Cameron McKenna's property department.

The survey of 130 key players in the property industry, half of whom were surveyors and half property investors, found that 59 per cent felt Labour should tax green-belt development. Far more, 93 per cent, said the government should give tax incentives to those who develop urban sites.

But the property world is prepared to exploit the absence of tougher environmental controls. The majority of those surveyed saw out-of-town shop- ping centres as the property investment most likely to produce the best return until 2010.

Cameron McKenna's property head Charles Romney, who supervised the survey, said that people wanted environmental controls, but until these were implemented they would carry on investing in areas that they saw as profitable.

He said he was surprised at the change in attitude on commercial property leases. The balance had swung in favour of tenants in recent years with shorter leases and break clauses becoming more common.