Property Week victory leads to last-minute rejig

Staff at Property Week had to redo the cover and first three news pages at the eleventh hour last week after finding out the magazine had won its campaign to allow private individuals to invest in commercial property.

The campaign, which has been running since November, was addressed by Chancellor Gordon Brown in his pre-Budget report on 10 December – leading the team to overhaul the first four pages at the last minute.

Property Week was not expecting confirmation from Brown that the Government would launch a consultation, suggesting a victory for the small investor and the magazine.

Editor Giles Barrie said: “It was all hands to the pump. The announcement came at one o’clock, so we cleared the front page, got the quotes and started over with the news pages.”

The issue splashed with the headline “REIT ON” – a reference to real estate and investment trusts.

The campaign was launched to help ordinary savers enter a world usually the preserve of property tycoons; coverage dominated recent issues of Property Week, taking up 12 or 13 pages with three investigative features.

The property industry itself submitted a 79-page report promoting the concept to the Government and praised Property Week’s campaign.

Barrie said: “New Labour has had little time for commercial property, a sector it traditionally associated with tycoons swigging champagne and lording it in limousines. But this week the sector’s image changed, with the Chancellor recognising that the property industry can be trusted with small investors’ savings and to use these funds to spearhead regeneration of inner cities across the UK.”

By Ruth Addicott

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