Institution calls on governments to provide housebuilders with tax breaks to help world housing crisis.
UK Housebuilders could be given tax breaks to encourage them to build houses in developing countries under plans outlined by the RICS' research arm.

The RICS Foundation put forward its ideas at a session of the UN General Assembly in New York last week that was reviewing the world's housing difficulties.

Simon Kolesar, the foundation's deputy chairman, said the RICS believed Western governments could contribute to solving these problems by providing housebuilders with funds to build homes under their aid programmes.

He said that if governments were prepared to ensure that firms received a commercial return on their investments by making up any shortfall, the private sector could play an important role.

He added that the firms could receive payment through credits against corporation tax rather than by cash payments.

David Fitzpatrick, executive director of the RICS Foundation, said the scheme received a favourable response from UN officials.

Our priority now is the domestic situation, which has a pressing need

House Builders Federation

He added that the RICS Foundation had also received an approach from Habitat, the UN agency that oversees housing. Its programme support director has asked the RICS to become one of its official advisers.

The House Builders Federation said the proposal was an interesting one, but added that the UK industry was more interested in solving the UK's housing shortage.

A spokesman said: "Our priority right now is the domestic situation, which has a pressing need for more houses. But if there are new conditions to encourage our members to go abroad, that can be explored."

Five years ago the UN assembly set up Habitat to address worldwide housing problems. Its first meeting was held in Istanbul in 1996.

Now based in Nairobi, Kenya, the body hosted the special meeting in New York to review how progress can be made to solve the world's housing problems.