BSRIA gives reaction to chancellor’s Autumn Statement

Key points to industry: stamp duty and housing

  • £500m for the Housing Infrastructure Fund, designed to enable a further 650,000 homes to be built.
  • New partnerships with nine housing associations in England to deliver 13,000 homes.
  • British Business Bank guarantees of up to £1 billion to support the revival of SME housebuilders.
  • A consultation on simplifying the process of converting commercial property into new homes is to start.
  • All shared equity purchases of up to £500,000 to be exempt from stamp duty.
  • Lettings relief limited to properties where the owner is in shared occupancy with the tenant.

Chancellor Philip Hammond stressed that government cannot solve productivity challenges or deliver the “high standard of living the British people deserve” without fixing the housing market.

Krystyna Dawson, commercial director of BSRIA, said: “It is encouraging to see that the chancellor, Philip Hammond, has delivered a portfolio of policies that decisively aims to boost housebuilding. This will support both BSRIA members and the wider construction industry. His announcements go some way to ensure that the UK gets the housing it desperately needs to make Britain ‘fit for the future’.

“Investment in the Housing Infrastructure Fund and the promise of a further 650,000 homes – in addition to the current government target of 300,000 homes a year – are positive but again – BSRIA stresses that quantity must not be at the cost of quality.

“The devil, as always, is in the detail and BSRIA will wait to hear when the Chancellor plans for these houses to be built, where they will be built and, indeed, who will build them?

“BSRIA members will be keen to see the pledge turned into reality that will deliver buildings, not only in the targeted quantity, but also to the right quality and environmental standards.

“To help first-time buyers get on the property ladder, he announced that all shared equity purchases of up to £500,000 are to be exempt from stamp duty.

“The UK’s housing crisis is one of the biggest challenges we face today and the investment into the Housing Infrastructure Fund will hopefully help to attract, train and retain workers to build the houses we need.”

On skills – the Chancellor said that “we will always back enterprise and the market economy that underpins it, because we know it is the only way to deliver the high-wage, high-skill economy of the future”. And: “as well as backing businesses to invest and grow, we will also make sure British workers are equipped with the skills they need to thrive and prosper”. Again – detail is needed but BSRIA trusts this will translate into the benefit of the construction industry.

On Brexit – the Chancellor announced that there will be an extra £500m for preparations for leaving the EU which BSRIA believes is a sensible step to take.