The Federation of Small Businesses has welcomed moves to increase the Entrepreneurs Relief threshold to £5 million from £2 million. The move to reduce the Small Companies Tax Rate to 20 per cent is also welcome news and will help over 850,000 small firms, including smaller housebuilders.
The FSB is also delighted that the Government will extend the Enterprise Finance Guarantee which was introduced following calls from the organisation, and helps many small businesses who face difficulty in accessing credit.
If the new Government is going to rely on the private sector to generate jobs, then the above moves will help kick-start the UK’s stalled building industry – and we need this, as we are experiencing a dire shortage of housing. As a result of this, the issue of empty homes has again reared its head.
The Homes and Communities Agency is currently running an online debate to explore new ways to help bring more private sector homes back into use. Affordability issues, exacerbated by the current economic conditions, have placed greater emphasis on the need to tackle void properties.
At the moment, there are 1.8 million households on the social housing waiting list and over 762,000 empty homes, around half of which have been unoccupied for more than six months. And according to The Empty Homes Agency, there are enough disused commercial buildings in the country to create a further 420,000 new homes.
One has to ask, then, why are we not tackling this issue? Surely it would be more cost-effective – and sustainable – to bring these empty premises back into use – companies such as Plastic Surgeon, working with building firms, could easily go into these homes and bring them up to a comfortable living standard. Instead of ripping the contents out, we could repair them to a very high standard – this too would bring the costs down of upgrading these homes, as our work avoids the need to send damaged items to landfill.