Autumn Budget: key announcements

Shutterstock 205130173After one of Theresa May’s best performances at Prime Ministers Questions in recent weeks, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond delivered his Autumn Budget which focused on alleviating concerns of the ‘millennial generation’.

In his speech, Mr Hammond described his Budget as “taking a balanced approach”, which would continue the Government’s commitment to maintaining fiscal responsibility, and outlined the ways in which he would utilise some of the ‘headroom’ which he had available.

The Chancellor told the House of Commons that 600,000 more people will be in work by 2022, with borrowing and debt predicted to fall every year until 2022/23, although the OBR’s growth forecast for 2017 was cut from 2% to 1.5%.

Housing was evidently a clear priority for the Chancellor, who stated that he wanted to “send a message to the next generation that getting on the housing ladder is not just a dream of your parents’ past, but a reality of your future”.

He admitted that “house prices are increasingly out of reach for many” and recognised that “it takes too long to save for a deposit”.

“There is no single magic bullet” to solve the problem, but he outlined a number measures designed to tackle the housing crisis:

Main housing announcements:

  • Abolition of stamp duty for first-time buyers on properties under £300,000. There has been some immediate debate in the media following OBR figures suggesting this will actually help very few people. One estimate suggests the cut will cost the public purse £900,000 for each extra housebuyer.
  • No stamp duty on the first £300,000 of homes worth up to £500,000 in high-cost areas
  • £44bn to fund 300,000 new homes per year by the mid 2020s
  • Majority of new homes to be high quality and high density in large cities and near transport hubs
  • Five new garden towns, to be delivered by public-private partnerships
  • 1 million new homes in the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor by 2050, along with the required infrastructure
  • £28m for three Housing First pilots in the West Midlands, Manchester and Liverpool

Infrastructure and Construction:

  • £12.1bn to unlock strategic sites
  • £8bn of financial guarantees for private housebuilders
  • £2.7bn for the National Infrastructure Fund
  • £630m ‘Small Sites Fund’
  • £400m for estate regeneration

Education and Training:

  • £34m for boosting construction skills training
  • £20m of funding for T Level programmes to support technical qualifications

Regulatory changes:

  • Planning reform protecting Green Belt status
  • Expansion of the Homes & Communities Agency to become ‘Homes England’
  • Review of planning permission and housing start gap, with a report published before the Spring Statement
  • HRA cap lifted in high-demand areas
  • Consultation on barriers to longer private tenancies

Further to these announcements by the Chancellor, the Communities and Local Government Minister Sajid Javid will outline further details of the Government’s plans “in due course”.

MPs will also debate the Budget’s housing and public services themes in the House of Commons on Thursday 23 November

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