EC Harris' head of public work tells us what to expect in this week's Budget

With just days to go before the 2009 Budget, Alistair Darling will be looking at what the economy needs in the here and now and the investment required for its future. The chancellor may decide to take a big gamble, by pulling forward a number of government funding streams in an effort to further stimulate recovery. Specific actions that could be taken now might include:

  • Continued commitment to major public programmes
  • Making the efficiency drive real by recognising that property is the second biggest cost after staff, and prioritising it as such
  • The extension of the £175,000 stamp duty threshold, due to expire in September 2009
  • A possible extension to the existing HomeBuy Direct scheme, where government and private developers contribute equally to the deposit for first-time buyers
  • More investment in infrastructure, to prepare the ground for the inevitable recovery
  • An initiative on private rented housing. This is likely to mean engaging private sector partners with access to government funds to encourage and stimulate the private rented market. The Homes and Communities Agency is very focused on this at the moment through its intermediate rental product
  • The government could also look at the REIT dividend rules and perhaps relax the onerous payout requirements
  • Avoiding short-termism and drafting a budget to deliver medium-long term value for both our industry and the country.