Autumn Budget Round-Up
This year’s Autumn Budget saw significant new measures in relation to housing and development as well as a reiteration of the 1.7 billion Transforming Cities Fund. Speaking in the commons earlier today Chancellor Phillip Hammond set out measures to boost housebuilding and homeownership as well as strategic land and infrastructure developments. Here we’ll summarise some of the key points that will shape the planning and development landscape in the coming years.
Backing up the government’s vision for a country of homeowners, Mr Hammond announced the abolition of Stamp Duty for first time buyers on properties up to a value of £300,000, and on the first £300,000 of homes worth up to £500,000.
Perhaps predictably, the Chancellor also took time to espouse the merits of the government’s existing help to buy scheme. However, he acknowledged the urgent need to increase the number of new homes being built in order to meet demand. In this, particular attention was given to the need to free up both strategic land and small-scale sites for development.
It was announced that there would be a £630m ‘small sites fund’ as well as a £1.1bn fund to help unlock strategic sites for housing across the country. The Chancellor also outlined the intention to more than double the Housing Infrastructure Fund to £2.7bn.
Several other high-profile initiatives were announced which include:
- At least £44bn of capital funding, loans and guarantees made available over the next 5 years to support the delivery of 300,000 net additional new homes a year by the mid 2020s
- £8bn of new financial guarantees to support private house-building
- A £400m estate regeneration fund
- £34m to develop construction skills
- Local authorities are to be given new powers to tackle empty properties within their boundary area, with the ability to charge a 100% council tax premium on empty residences.
Developers and landowners were put under the spotlight by the announcement of a review into the gap between the number of planning applications being granted in relation to the number of new homes being built.
The outcome of the review, details of which are to be outlined shortly, could see the exercise of compulsory purchase powers on sites deemed to be withheld from the market for non-technical reasons.
Strategic measures were also outlined, with the vision of five new garden towns and the promise of Manchester, the West Midlands and Liverpool seeing a £28m investment in three new ‘Housing First’ pilot schemes.
The prospect of driverless and electric vehicles was embraced by the Chancellor, with legislative changes to take place imminently. This comes with a commitment to the necessary charging infrastructure to accompany such a shift, including £100m for plug-in car points. This comes alongside the previously announced commitment to a ‘Transforming Cities Fund’, providing an additional £1.7bn to city transport infrastructure.
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Images from GotCredit and Joy Kirr via Flickr