Worcester MP Robin Walker was in the Chamber today to hear Chancellor Phillip Hammond deliver the first Autumn Budget, setting out a clear plan for investment in house-building and helping first-time buyers get on the housing ladder.
Announcing £44billion of investment over the next four years to accelerate the supply of homes, housing reform was at the heart of today’s Budget with the Chancellor promising delivery of 300,000 new homes a year. This will include a further £1.5billion investment in the Home Building Fund, providing loans specifically targeted at SME construction firms who cannot access the finance they need to build.
To combat properties left empty, local councils will be given increased powers to impose a 100% Council Tax premium to encourage owners to bring such properties back into use, and there will be moves to further incentivise building on urban brownfield land to ensure that we protect our valuable green belt.
To help those who have been shut out of the housing market by rising prices, the Chancellor announced that stamp duty will be abolished from today for first-time buyers purchasing properties up to £300,000 – over 80% of those getting onto the housing ladder. The Help to Buy Equity Loan will also be expanded with a further £10billion to support another 135,000 people into home ownership, and a £2million competition has been launched to develop tech solutions that enable a history of timely rental payments to be taken into account on credit scores and mortgage applications, making it easier for young people to access mortgage services.
There were also measures to combat homelessness as part of the Government’s commitment to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and to eliminate it by 2027. £28million is to be invested in three Housing First pilot projects – including one in the West Midlands – to support rough sleepers with the most complex needs to turn their lives around. Additionally, £20million of funding is to be allocated to help those at risk of homelessness in the private rented sector to sustain their tenancies.
Speaking after the Budget, Robin said:
“With housebuilding already at its highest level since the financial crash, it is vital that we build on this success and open up the housing market to more and more people. Many young people feel that the opportunities for home ownership that were so readily available to their parents have not been made available to them – and this Budget takes important steps to address that injustice.”
“The vast majority of first-time buyers in Worcester will now pay no stamp duty at all, following the abolition of the tax on properties up to £300,000. Steps are also being taken to make it easier for young people to get a mortgage, with a commitment to fund the technology that will enable rental payment history to be taken into account when applying.”
“The measures to tackle homelessness are also a great step forward. With the Maggs Day Centre having just received over £280,000 in lottery funding and local organisations agreeing to work together to tackle homelessness following the passage of the Homelessness Reduction Act, this is another step forward.”
“I have long campaigned for the increased supply of housing on brownfield land in Worcester, and have pressed the City Council to take any action in their power to tackle empty properties – the additional powers given to them today will go a long way to addressing that.”
Notes to editors
For Robin’s previous statements on housing, see:
To read the Department for Communities and Local Government’s release this week on housebuilding, see: