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British Property Federation urges rethink of Construction Industry Levy

BPF has outlined thoughts in its Making the Grade manifesto

The British Property Federation (BPF) has released a manifesto that says the high Construction Industry Levy (CIL) is affecting growth of much-needed student accommodation.

The manifesto, called Making the Grade, is specifically focused on the purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) sector.

During this, the BPF states that the higher education industry, which is important in developing the workforce in the UK for the future and contributes billions of pounds to the GDP, is being blighted by huge CIL contributions.

These in turn result in stopping development of PBSA, which will stunt the development of high quality student accommodation.

As a result, the manifesto has urged the Government to review CIL and ensure that better guidance is given to how PBSA is treated.

Making the Grade also outlines a further impact that CIL will have on the sector, commenting that it will result in pressure on the housing markets if students are forced into the private rented sector.

Melanie Leech, Chief Executive of the BPF, explained the importance of the manifesto, which should “highlight the benefits of PBSA”.

She said: “A thriving PBSA sector is integral to maintaining our competitiveness as a country which offers a world class higher education system.

“Not only does it play an important part in attracting international students to our universities, but the high standards and security of the accommodation provide peace of mind for both students and parents, and allow universities to focus on first-class teaching and study facilities, rather than student halls.

“Because the sector is relatively new, there can be ‘grey areas’ in how it should be classified for policy purposes. We intend this manifesto to highlight the benefits of PBSA to both local and central Government, and consequently, to encourage them to consider how they might create a more supportive policy framework for the sector.”

Richard Simpson is the Managing Director of property for Unite Students, as well as Chairman of the BPF Student Accommodation Committee and he highlighted the necessity of further accommodation and infrastructure.

“Corporate providers of student accommodation and university halls make up just under a third of the market. This shortage of purpose built accommodation is exerting incredible pressure on the private residential market – homes which could be freed up for young families,” he said.

“Without the necessary accommodation and infrastructure, we will be unable to support the growing number of students studying at our higher education institutions.”