Two notable changes proposed by the Chancellors

The final version of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) will be published on 27 March and will take effect from that date, Chancellor George Osborne announced in his Budget Statement on 21 March. He added that the document would represent the “biggest reduction in business red tape ever undertaken” and had previosuly advised MP”s that “Global businesses have diverted specific investments that would have created hundreds of jobs in some of the most deprived communities in Britain to countries like Germany and the Netherlands because they couldn”t get planning permission here.”

The Budget report also stated that the Government would consult “shortly” on proposals to amend the Use Class Order and the associated permitted development rights to make changing the use of buildings easier, for implementation by April 2013 together with apledge to streamline guidance on complying with the European Union”s Habitats Directive.

The not so good news………

The VAT relief that currently applies to alterations to listed buildings is being withdrawn with effect from 1 October 2012. The Chancellor described the existing relief as an “anomaly”, which “gives a perverse incentive for change as opposed to repair”. He also considers that the majority of the work covered by the relief consists of “extension work which is not necessary for heritage”.

Dave Brown, the LPOC”s VAT adviser commented “The majority of projects that I get involved with are simply restoration jobs – and with VAT at 20% being payable on these works in future, home owners are likely to “make do and mend” – or else purchase non-listed buildings next time. The end result, unfortunately, is that many historic buildings will simply fall into a state of disrepair.”

A consultation exercise with HMRC has been introduced to look at the implications of the new measure.

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