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British government boosts office-to-homes switches to spur economy

Published on Jan 22, 2013 7:46 PM

LONDON (REUTERS) - The British government will make it easier for developers to convert offices into apartments, the latest in a string of initiatives to kick-start economic growth through housing.

Planning minister Nick Boles is due to announce the changes to the planning system this week to help to meet the country's huge demand for housing and revamp rundown areas where office schemes are not viable, a government source told Reuters.

"We are currently looking to make it easier to convert empty and under-used commercial space into residential use. This will provide new homes, help regenerate urban areas and boost local town centres," a spokeswoman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said.

"We will announce more details shortly," she added.

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