BSA wants housing minister on cabinet to boost building

The Building Societies Association is calling for the creation of a minister of state for housing with a “cross-departmental mandate” in an effort to boost house building and the economy.

As part of its Budget submission to the Treasury, the trade body is calling for the Government to promote the role of housing minister to the cabinet in order to “co-ordinate and deliver more holistic and ambitious policy-making” when it comes to housing. Presently, the housing minister does not sit on the cabinet.

Director general Adrian Coles says: “House building is an important growth engine for the economy and we have a desperate need for more homes. Government must do more to make this happen.”

The BSA also wants the Government to speed up the release of land with planning consent to boost home building and the creation of a UK-wide, consumer facing housing portal to improve the take-up of housing schemes by giving the public easy access to information and advice.

Moreover, the trade body wants the Government to follow the lead of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly by looking at the “slab structure” of stamp duty and the creation of a housing Isa, where funds deposited would be allocated directly to fund housing development and purchase.

Presently, stamp duty is not levied on purchases up to £125,000. However, for purchases between £125,001 and £250,000 borrowers are charged 1 per cent of the property price; between £250,001 and £500,000 the levy is 3 per cent; it is 4 per cent between £500,001 and £1m; 5 per cent between £1m and £2m; and 7 per cent on purchases over £2m.