Housebuilders' shares fall on back of land banking probe announcement

Reports that housebuilders' shares fell yesterday after a pledge in the Budget 'to reclaim land that is not being developed quickly enough' feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Times (subscription required) reports that chancellor Philip Hammond yesterday "said that 270,000 residential planning permissions remained unbuilt in London alone. In an effort to address ‘land banking’, he announced an urgent review of the gap between the number of planning permissions granted and houses constructed". The newspaper says that shares in Britain’s four biggest builders — Persimmon, Barratt, Berkeley and Taylor Wimpey — fell between 1 and 3 per cent following the announcement.

Telegraph business columnist Liam Halligan says that the chancellor’s proposed cuts to stamp duty will do "nothing to tackle the real problem - which, after decades of slow building, is a manifest lack of homes". Halligan says that the chancellor "set out to fix the UK’s housing market, but lost his nerve - a performance his party will come to regret".

The Financial Times (subscription required) reports that Britain’s renewable energy industry expressed "deep concern" on Wednesday over a document published alongside the Budget "that suggested there will be no new subsidies for low-carbon electricity generation for another eight years". The newspaper says that the Treasury "published a new framework designed to limit the ‘green taxes’, or levies, that are added to consumer energy bills and pay for subsidy schemes that support low-carbon electricity generation, such as wind farms and solar."

The Guardian reports that the boss of a German energy company’s green power arm has said that "new nuclear power stations in the UK can no longer compete with windfarms on price". The newspaper says that Hans Bunting, the chief operating officer of renewables at Innogy SE, "said offshore windfarms had become mainstream and were destined to become even cheaper because of new, bigger turbines".

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