Budget 2017: Unlocking council borrowing powers could get SMEs building - NFB

Posted On: 
22nd November 2017

Delivering the Autumn Budget to the House of Commons, Philip Hammond reported on an economy that “continues to grow, create jobs and confound expectations”.

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The chancellor reported that the growth forecast for the economy had been revised downwards since March, with the GDP growing by 1.4% in 2018 and 1.3% in 2019 before rising to 1.5% in 2021. Hammond also announced that the Government will spend £44 billion in capital funding and loans to tackle the housing crisis. These include lifting the borrowing cap on local authorities with high housing demand, abolishing stamp duty for first-time buyers on properties worth up to £300,000, and pledged to build 300,000 new homes by the mid-2020s.

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) believes that the Government has delivered a good roadmap to begin addressing the housing crisis in the Autumn Budget, even though more concrete steps still need to be taken. The NFB welcomes action on allowing local authorities to borrow to build, tackling land banking and empty properties back into use. However, policies such as the abolition of stamp duty for first-time buyers on properties worth up to £300,000 could still fuel demand without doing much to stimulate supply.

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “The budget shows that the Government has listened to the construction industry when it comes to solving the housing crisis. Although there is much more to do, we look forward to work alongside the Government in enabling construction SMEs to solve Britain’s housing crisis.”