How the government's emergency measures to tackle the downturn will affect the construction industry

The pre-Budget report measures affecting the industry in full.

Capital spending

£3bn of capital spending will be brought forward from 2010/11 to 2008/9 and 2009/10. The money will be used to:

  • Increase capacity in the motorway network,
  • Improve and build new social housing,
  • Renew primary and secondary schools,
  • Invest in energy efficiency measures.

Empty properties tax relief

Temporary increase in the threshold for empty property relief. For 2009/10, empty commercial properties with a rateable value below £15,000, will be exempt from business rates. This exemption covers an estimated 70 per cent of all empty properties.


  • An additional £100m and another £50m brought forward to help up to 60,000 more households insulate their homes.
  • The government will invest £535m more quickly on energy efficiency, rail transport, and environmental protection.

Housing and mortgage lending

  • Package of support for housing worth a total of £1.8 billion, including:
  • An additional £775m this year and next to invest in thousands of new and modernised social housing and regeneration projects.
  • Darling to work up plans for a £100bn scheme to provide government guarantees for banks new mortgage lending, in line with the recommendations of the Crosby report published today. Darling said he would seek State Aid approval from the European Commission to implement the measure and report back at the time of the budget. However, it was not immediately clear where the money would come from.
  • Major lenders have agreed that, where someone is facing repayment difficulties with their home mortgage, they will wait at least three months after the borrower falls into arrears before initiating repossession proceedings.
  • £15 million of new funding for free debt advice, available to everyone, regardless of circumstances, available across the country.
  • The Support for Mortgage Interest scheme which covers mortgage interest payments for those who have lost their jobs will have upper limit increased to cover mortgages up to £200,000, from the present limit of £100,000. For six months, the level of interest rates covered by the scheme will remain at just over 6 per cent.


£7bn package of measures, including:

  • Government is also to offer £1bn of credit through a temporary Small Business Finance Scheme. Will cover sums from £1000 to £1m at more flexible terms.
  • HMRC will enable firms facing difficulties to spread their tax – VAT, corporation tax, income tax and national insurance – over a longer timetable.
  • Government monitoring of banks receiving Government funding, to ensure they maintain the availability of lending to SMEs at 2007 levels.
  • Defer the planned increase in the small companies’ rate of corporation tax, which firms pay on their profits.
  • Extend scope of tax repayment system so businesses which were previously profitable but are now making losses, which enables them to receive tax repayments. Losses of up to £50,000 can be offset against profits made for the last three years, rather than one year as at present.

Larger companies

Exemption for foreign dividends in 2009 for large and medium businesses.

Other Taxation measures

  • VAT cut from 17.5 to 15 per cent until the end of next year.
  • From April 2011 all rates of National Insurance Contributions, for both employees and employers increase by 0.5%
  • From April 2011 a new rate of income tax of 45 per cent on income over £150,000.
  • Offset the VAT reduction by increase in fuel duty