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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 229

Date:- 12 December 2005

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PRE-BUDGET REPORT MOVES HOUSING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

THE National Association of Estate Agents has welcomed many of the housing related announcements made by Gordon Brown today. It warns, however, that certain key issues are still being ignored and that it is the consumer who will suffer. Stamp duty and inheritance tax (IHT) were 2 topics not included in the Chancellor’s pre-budget report this week.

Peter Bolton King, Chief Executive at the NAEA, comments:- “We were disappointed to see that the Chancellor did not address the key issues of stamp duty and inheritance tax in his report. Both are having a direct, negative impact on homebuyers and homeowners in the UK today and the problems associated with them are likely to get progressively worse as long as inflation keeps rising and the stamp duty and inheritance tax thresholds do not. We urge the Chancellor to address this immediately.”

Comment on issues raised in the pre-budget report:-

Planning-gain Supplement (PGS)
Bolton King comments:- “We note the proposals relating to planning gain and would emphasise that in order for it to work it is crucial that the profits are ploughed back into the right infrastructure.  We welcome any moves to make the system more efficient and to reform planning obligations and would urge the Government to press on with this without delay.”

Planning Delivery Grant (PDG)
Bolton King comments:- “We believe that it is important to encourage local authorities to be actively involved in promoting growth in their area, and approve of the Government’s proposal to reform the current Planning Delivery Grant.”

Planning Policy Statement for Housing (PPS3)
Bolton King comments:- “This is a critical step forward. We are delighted to see that the Government is looking more closely at the requirements of the housing market, and taking on board Kate Barker’s suggestions.  We express concern, however, over the number of local authorities that are clamping down on permissions for new homes as they feel they are exceeding the requirements of their structure plan. It is clearly far more beneficial to allow as many new developments as possible in areas where there is high demand. We would like to see the Government addressing this issue in the near future.”

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS)
Bolton King comments:- “We look forward to receiving more details on the proposals for UK-REITS before the end of the year, as promised in the pre-budget report.”

Grant for Lady Lever Art Gallery Gift from The Johnson Foundation

THE Lady Lever Art Gallery has received a generous award of £110,000 over 5 years from The Johnson Foundation. 

The cash injection will secure a Learning officer’s post at the gallery and guarantee delivery of an education programme for all ages and abilities. The award will enable the huge educational potential at the Lady Lever Art Gallery to be fully realised.

The gallery houses the collection of the first Lord Leverhulme. It has a world-renowned collection of Wedgwood, along with many pieces of furniture and a stunning painting collection, along with a new temporary exhibition space.

Juliet Staines, Learning officer at the Lady Lever Art Gallery says:- "What a privilege to be given such an exciting opportunity. This extremely generous award will enable us to develop and provide innovative Learning projects and activities for learners of all ages and to work more with local community groups."

Peter Johnson said:- "The trustees and I are delighted to be able to assist the Lady Lever Art Gallery to succeed in its aim in providing exciting education projects for young and old alike"

CORGI REASSURES PUBLIC FACING CHRISTMAS GAS STRIKE

FOLLOWING the announcement that British Gas workers have agreed to stage five 24-hour strikes over the Christmas period, the UK’s gas safety watchdog are reminding homeowners how to find details of CORGI registered gas installers in an emergency. The strike-action is scheduled to take place on 12, 19 and 21 December, and 6 and 9 January. Homeowners can contact CORGI and access their database of 50,000 registered installation businesses.

CORGI’s Chief Executive, Mike Thompson warns:- “It is vitally important that during this strike action consumers are not tempted to use non-registered, gas fitters whose work is both potentially dangerous and illegal.

We hold a database of some 50,000 registered gas installation businesses employing around 100,000 gas-fitting operatives. During the Christmas period, as well as the rest of the year, CORGI will help consumers locate a local registered installer.

This can be done by calling 0870 401 2300, or logging on to www.corgi-gas-safety.com.

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