Before Chancellor Jeremy Hunt unveils his Autumn Statement tomorrow a gaggle of property professionals and experts have launched last ditch attempts to make their cases heard for tax cuts and homebuying help.
Over the weekend Hunt (main picture) claimed that the UK was ‘on a path to a lower tax economy’ but pledged that his Autumn Statement would not include any tax cuts that would be inflationary.
FOCUS ON GROWTH
Instead, he is expected to focus on growth with a raft of measures including the biggest overhaul of individual savings accounts in over a decade.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said yesterday he would responsibly cut taxes but he refused to be drawn on specific measures to be unveiled tomorrow.
He told reporters any tax cuts would be done in a ‘responsible way’ in line with the government’s fiscal rules and alongside the publication of forecasts by the Office for Budget Responsibility.
“I’m not going to pre-empt the decisions that the chancellor will make, other than to say that we will approach that task seriously and responsibly,” he said.
Earlier in the day the UK’s largest building society called for greater government support for first-time buyers and savers as rising costs delay owning a home and building a nest egg.
HELP TO BUY
While raising a deposit and affordability remain the biggest barriers to homeownership for first-time buyers Nationwide wants an independent review to set out and address challenges facing the sector to support people hoping to buy a home of their own.
Rachael Sinclair, Director of Mortgages and Financial Wellbeing for Nationwide, says: ‘‘Homeownership for many first-time buyers is a huge challenge. Reintroducing the Help to Buy ISA would make a big difference to building a deposit while a review of the first-time buyer market would help determine the right solutions for helping people get a home of their own.”
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and former RICS Residential Chairman, says: “There has been lots of talk over the past few days about whether the Autumn Statement will include a cut in stamp duty to increase market activity.
“We don’t believe any tweaks may be appropriate unless focused on first-time buyers who are the lifeblood of the market. They trade up – unlike investors who tend to buy and stay at lower price levels.
“More transactions are good not just for the property market but the general economy in view of their multiplier effect on so many other businesses.”
And he adds: “First-time buyers also free-up rental properties to other tenants who are not yet ready to buy, reducing renewals and easing the shortages particularly of desperately needed affordable homes.
“More available letting property reduces upward pressure on rents because supply is so short, while landlords are also leaving the sector due to increasing tax and regulatory burdens. More help for first-time buyers is therefore a win-win for a large number of people.”
Meanwhile in London, Mayor Sadiq Khan called on the Government to deliver £470m brownfield development boost to build 76,000 homes.
He says: “The Government must act now to enable the building of tens of thousands of homes in the capital and I’m urging them to use the Autumn Statement to do just this.”
And elsewhere, drivers are calling on the Chancellor for a Cut in Fuel Duty to lower Inflation and reduce the cost of living crisis.
Howard Cox, Founder of FairFuelUK, says: “Lower, fairer and transparent pump prices are good for the economy, businesses and disposable income.
“The Chancellor should have the guts to lead the world in significantly cutting Fuel Duty and also ensure that the fuel supply chain is rigorously scrutinised by putting the much-promised PumpWatch pricing watchdog into operation. It must have real teeth too.”