President Jack Pringle praises increased funding on education and health but is disappointed by lack of eco initiatives

Responding to Chancellor Gordon Brown’s budget today, RIBA president Jack Pringle said that he did not go far enough on environmental measures but welcomed increased funding on education and health.

Jack Pringle
Pringle: green incentives need to be more generous

"The Chancellor told us that his Budget would be about environmentally sustainable growth. But behind the headline-making tax cuts, there's not much that's new and much that's been left unsaid. If the Government is serious about encouraging householders to do their bit for the environment, then the incentives and grants on offer will need to become far more generous,” said Pringle.

Green measures included:

  • Stamp duty exemption for zero carbon homes costing up to £500,000 with stamp duty reductions for more expensive properties
  • Assistance to householders with an intention that all homes will, wherever possible, achieve their cost-effective energy efficiency potential by 2020
  • An increase in the Low Carbon Buildings Programme to £18 million to assist microgeneration
  • Ofgem to be encouraged to increase incentives to householders who export green energy to the National Grid
  • A reduction in VAT to 5% on specified alterations to housing for older people
  • Seeking European Union agreement to cut VAT on energy-saving environmentally-friendly products
  • A rise in education investment from £60bn by £74bn by 2010
  • A £8bn rise by 2008 in health investment
  • Fiscal assistance to churches and heritage buildings
  • Launch of a consultation on improving the effectiveness of tax incentives for developing brownfield land
Michael Ankers, chief executive of the Construction Products Association, also said that he was disappointed there was not more in the budget on the environment.

He said: “There was a series of minor measures and things that he’s been aspiring to do for ages. We were hoping for positive progress on this and we were really hoping that there would be something linked to energy performance certificates for homes.”

Pringle welcomed the increased funding for health and education pledged by Brown but added it “must be accompanied by a greater commitment to design quality and sustainability.”