Industry responds to news of Conservative/ Lib-Dem coalition

Cameron Clegg

Industry figures have been assessing the impact of the new cabinet as David Cameron and Nick Clegg laid out plans for their coalition government.

The UK’s freshly hatched coalition government will call an emergency Budget within 50 days to push through a new programme of measures.

Business leaders called for the new government to “put aside point-scoring and work together”.

Details of a series of new initiatives agreed by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition have emerged as well as the make-up of the new Cabinet.

Liz Peace, chief executive of the BPF, said: “Property – whether its homes and schools or shops and offices – has a major role to play in politics, not least because the taxpayer now owns £150bn through the state owned banks. It is thus essential that the new Treasury team restore empty rate relief as a means of being fair and helping business. 

“It is also vital that regeneration and investment in our communities is put high up the agenda, and that we incentivise the institutions to deliver a professional private rented sector so that the million extra renters of the last decade have quality homes to live in. Real change needs to mean just that.

“Planning will continue to be a hotly debated topic, not least because the Tory policy of third party appeals – where anyone can oppose a planning consent – would cause chaos. Some councils are cutting 25% of planners and with more cuts to come, we must not clog up the system by needlessly increasing appeals.”

John Bowles, head of development and residential consulting at BNP Paribas Real Estate, added: “This coalition Government has the wisdom to use the best and discard the worst of the planning and housing ideas laid out in the Conservative and Lib Dem manifestos.”

David Salusbury, chairman of the National Landlords Association, said: “When landlords let property they are running a lettings business. Today, we are calling on the Government to ensure profits from this business activity are included as part of the exemptions.


“We are concerned that a tax increase of this nature will act as a barrier to further investment in residential property just at a time when there is an urgent need for more housing.

The Forum of Private Business has given a “cautious welcome” to the new government, and said it hopes it leads to the “start of a stable and functional administration”

Forum chief executive Phil Orford said: “Hopefully, Mr Cameron’s appointment will herald the beginning of a workable government which will ensure economic stability and give smaller firms the confidence to aspire and grow.

“It is imperative that our MPs put aside point-scoring and work together to make Britain a stable and prosperous place to run a business.”

David Bexon, managing director of, said: “Clearly, the incoming government has to cut spending, but it would be a disaster if the axe were to fall on housing.

“If we want to see a balanced property market that avoids previous patterns of boom and bust, then we need government to address the root cause of the problem – a planning system that at present actively prevents developers from meeting consumer demand for property.”

Stuart Law, chief executive of Assetz, said: “The new coalition government’s proposed Capital Gains Tax increase on non-business assets is likely to have a negative impact on property investment in the UK.

“Continued stability of the current 18% tax rate is imperative in driving investor activity and securing a full recovery for the property market. Any exorbitant increase on the tax rate, with current figures suggesting this could reach as high as 50%, will only slow economic growth and scupper the government’s promise to revitalise the markets.”


Commenting on the potential implications of the Conservative-Liberal coalition government on regeneration, Tim Johnson, Director in Development Consulting at global real estate adviser DTZ, said: “More detail is needed on how the new coalition government intends to tackle and exploit the opportunities presented through regeneration. Delivering regeneration will be critical to achieving economic and housing objectives as well as creating more sustainable cities.


“Of course, funding to achieve this will be limited and to address this there are some interesting signs from the Conservatives around incentivising local authorities to encourage development by allowing them to retain growth in business rates locally. 


“The Lib Dems on the other hand shared Labour’s agenda of giving local authorities more flexibility to borrow against rental streams and build more Council housing. Clarifying planning policy from the new coalition government will also play a key role in de-risking regeneration and ensuring that projects are not delayed.”

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