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Today Chancellor Phillip Hammond delivered the Autumn Statement to outline the Government’s intentions to maintain a strong, stable and fair economy for the year ahead. It was largely expected that they would focus on relieving pressure on the younger generation, while the over 45s would take the largest weight on their shoulders.

Autumn Budget 2017: eMoov’s Reaction

Following another lacklustre Autumn Budget by Chancellor Philip Hammond today, we share our reaction to what the government is planning to achieve in the housing market and beyond over the next year as they start building a ‘Global Britain’.   

Today’s budget has amounted to little more than the annual dose of rhetoric and empty announcements of bold plans, extolling a robust intent to build more housing.

Russell Quirk

Founder & CEO, eMoov.co.uk

As always, it is good form to keep the best for last, and Mr Hammond certainly delivered with housing coming at the end of the running order.

On the lead up to the housing announcements, Chancellor Hammond also covered education, transport infrastructure, start-up investment, investor tax relief, technology support, the increase of wages, rail card for millennials and the NHS to name but a few.

Stamp Duty

Leading up to the Budget, we called for the eradication of the Stamp Duty tax and we had to wait until right until the end for the announcement.

Although it wasn’t a complete removal of the archaic land tax, as of today, it will be abolished for first-time buyers investing in properties costing £300k and under across the UK. This stamp duty “holiday” will extend to Londoners and it will also be discounted for the first £300k on properties up to £500k.

However, this has been met with a degree of scepticism across the board, with many believing it will actually help increase prices, and has only been implemented to detract from the severe lacking of property being built.

A cut in stamp duty for first-time buyers is the only real sign of good intent by Chancellor Hammond and one that may help reignite the property market momentarily, but some may say acts as yet another diversion from the elephant in the room of a continued failure to build a meaningful number of affordable homes. Indeed a cynical electoral bribe.

Russell Quirk

Founder & CEO, eMoov.co.uk

Property Stock

We also demanded that the housing shortages be addressed by the government and offered suggestions on how to fix this crisis such as incentivising developers to actually build on the land they own through tax breaks and to open up the wrongly classified areas of Green Belt land in the UK

As usual these ideas were largely ignored and the Chancellor delivered the usual stale rhetoric around their intention to lay foundations and build more homes. One move to facilitate this is to expand the Home and Communities Agency to Homes England. An ambitious plan was also announced that commits £44bn to boost the supply of housing and support development through skills, resources, land and financial incentives – although he did little to elaborate on this.

The Treasury’s ‘pledge’ to build more homes is a story we’ve been told many times before, but these well-worn, heady platitudes have not been fulfilled since way, way back in 1969 when the Beatles were topping the charts.

The likelihood of hitting the ambitious targets by 2050 are slim, to say the least, and it is unlikely that they will be met. The ‘urgent’ review between the gap in planning permission and the actual building of houses is far too little too late and should have been implemented many budgets ago.

Russell Quirk

Founder & CEO, eMoov.co.uk

Disappointingly they also announced intentions to focus on urban areas to find land to build more homes, keeping their head in the sand where the Green Belt is concerned.

The Chancellor did however, announce an urgent review into why there is such a large amount of land that has secured planning permission, but remains unbuilt on. With this review it seems that the Government will now force developers to build rather than incentivise them to in a move to eradicate land banking to satisfy shareholders.

It was not made clear as to whether this would be done at the outline stage or at the more advanced detailed stage, but none the less, this should have been an area of focus a long time ago.

The Government must actually execute on a housing plan if the current housing crisis is to be remedied and not just grab headlines with their unqualified so-called intentions. This problem is not just about money. It’s about action and it’s about listening to experts within the industry for once.

Russell Quirk

Founder & CEO, eMoov.co.uk

Young people were a central theme in Chancellor Hammond’s speech – he announced that affordability for today’s younger generations to get on the ladder will become a reality and the government plans to tackle this challenge head on.

The government aims to eradicate rough sleeping by 2027 and will put £28m towards improving the conditions on the streets for people without a roof over their heads.

In addition, condolences were offered to all the people impacted because of the Greenfell Tower tragedy. Another £28m will be given to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to use towards counselling, community space and rebuilding.