And the managing director of Midlands agency Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester, says: “Time and time again we’ve seen the government pledge to fix the housing market using recycled rhetoric and funding from previously announced initiatives. Today was no different and reading between the lines, we can expect to see them continue to over promise and under deliver in their attempts to address the housing crisis. While Boris Johnson might not be a fan of recycling, his chancellor certainly is and so the 180,000 new homes pledged today is certainly no step forward. The only bone thrown to a nation of ravenous homebuyers starved of housing stock has been a scrap of properties built on brownfield sites. According to the government there are some 36,000 hectares of brownfield land across England alone, enough to deliver over 1.3m new homes. So even if the government does make good on its promise, it’s just a fraction of what they could, and should, be building.”
Here’s a summary of the Sunak’s measures:
Property and related issues:
– £5 billion to remove unsafe cladding from highest risk residential buildings;
– Residential Property Developers Tax, funding cladding work, will be on developers with profits over £25m at a rate of four per cent ; [31 housebuilders made that much profit in 2019];
– Investment in housing and housing-related activity will total £24 billion including £11.5 billion towards affordable homes.
– By end of Parliament taxes will be going down not up;
– Taper reduced on Universal Credit to offset the £20 a week cut recently implemented.
– Business rate to be reformed “to create stronger High Streets” with revaluations every three years from 2023;
– Investment relief to encourage businesses to adopt energy-efficient measures;
– A new 50 per cent business rates discount for companies in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors, up to a maximum of £11,000, lasting for one year.
Jobs and Industry:
– 26 per cent rise over this Parliament for skills spending;
– 560m extra spending on improving numeracy skills.
Education and Culture:
– Extra £4.7 billion by 2024-5 but this will only see per-pupil funding to 2010 levels;
– This is on top of £14 billion announced in 2019.
– £850m for galleries, museums and libraries.
– Scheduled fuel duty increase cancelled for 12th year;
– Reduced air passenger duty for domestic flights within the UK;
– New tax for ‘ultra-long-haul’ international flights of up to £91;
– 50 local road upgrades as part of £5 billion road programme;
– Funding for buses, cycling and walking totalling more than £5 billion.
– “Radical simplification” of alcohol duty with 15 different rates reduced to six;
– The stronger the alcohol content, the higher the tax meaning some increases and some reductions.
– Inflation, currently 3.1 per cent, set to rise to 4.0 per cent over the next year;
– Supply chain pressures “will take months to ease” as these are “shared global problerms”;
– Office for Budget Responsibility revises upwards its growth forecast – economy should grow 6.0 per cent in 2021;
– OBR says unemployment will peak at around 5.2 per cent, which is lower than previously expected;
– Wages have grown 3.5 per cent in real terms since February 2020.
New Fiscal Rules:
– Underlying public sector net debt should be falling as a percentage of GDP; and
– In normal times the state should only borrow to invest. That means everyday spending must be paid through taxation, he says.