George Osborne tells property leaders that government should make more land available to housebuilders.

Shadow chancellor George Osborne has indicated that the Tories will increase the supply of land available for housebuilding if they win the next election.

Speaking at the British Property Federation's annual conference yesterday, Osborne said that more land was needed and that the current government had "antagonised local communities instead of working with them" over new development.

He also said that maintaining a stable and competitive economy with affordable mortgages and low rates was his party's top economic priority. Tax cuts were a lesser priority, he said.

Osborne also criticised plans for real estate investment trusts, which are due to come into existence early next year, saying that the tax-efficient status should be available to property companies on the Alternative Investment Market as well as the Stock Exchange.

He said: "This could limit their development in new areas, like residential property development. We do not want to see that important opportunity being lost. We will shortly be examining the fine detail of the REITS proposals in the Finance Bill Standing Committee, to improve the way the new tax regime will operate."

Osborne also blasted plans for the planning gain supplement, saying that its cost would be passed on to occupiers and homeowners.

He said: "This centrally administered, Treasury-driven planning gain supplement has nothing to do with providing genuine local infrastructure. It will add to the complexity of the tax system. Its cost is likely to be passed on to the buyer, adding to the expense of new housing. Conservatives will oppose it and will look to change it once we are in Government."