2015 Budget Announcement
- March 27, 2015
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The 2015 Budget announcement made by the Chancellor George Osborne included some reference to the world of conveyancing. After the announcement to reform Stamp Duty enclosed in the Autumn Statement in December, some analysts and agents were expectant of other procedures to be provided by the chancellor in the final Budget before the May 7 election.
A new Help-To-Buy ISA savings account, in which every £200 saved for a deposit by first time buyers, would receive a government top-up of £50. If individuals put in a maximum of £12,000 the government would put in a maximum of £3,000. More details about this will be announced in the autumn – if the Conservatives are elected in the next government.
London mayor Boris Johnson will have increased planning powers over 50 riverside wharves currently operated by Whitehall, opening the prospect for them to be developed for homes. Funding will be provided for the London Land Commission to “help address the acute housing shortage in the capital” and build a register of extra, public sector-owned land across London. The introduction of 20 housing zones across the UK was confirmed, while the eight existing zones would have their lifetimes extended with two new ones created for Blackpool and Plymouth.
Managing director of London agency Stirling Ackroyd, Andrew Bridges responded to the announcement saying “Our research has already identified potential space for over half a million homes, with new home hotspots concentrated in East London. London has the capability to meet the demands of its growing population, but the politicians need to take an axe to the red tape if that’s going to get the job done.”
Savills’ Lucian Cook, head of residential research, say the Help To Buy ISA “is more likely to help get buyers over the deposit hurdle in the lower value, lower growth markets of the Midlands and the North than say London and the South East, where significant constraints remain.”
Unsatisfied with the news was the chief executive UK agency group Countrywide Alison Platt. She believed the news of enterprise zones was good but “we encourage the government to go one step further and review the Green Belt to allow more land to be used for building near existing settlements.” Platt also indicated that Countrywide’s research suggested land for 500,000 homes within walking distance of the train stations in the Green Belt around our cities.
However, there is dismay in the lettings sector because of a future changes proposed in sub-letting legislation.