Industry reacts to the Spring Budget

Jessica Nangle

March 11, 2020

The industry has been reacting to Rishi Sunak’s first Budget as the Chancellor of the Exchequer following its broadcast earlier today.

There is a divide in its messaging, with some commending Sunak’s policies and others disappointed that more was not mentioned in regards to social care and the buy-to-let market.

Nick Sanderson, chief executive at the Audley Group, said: “The Budget has again focussed on building new houses.

“Yet another missed opportunity to support specialist housing rather than indiscriminate building.

“We don’t need 70,000 new homes. We need to free up existing housing stock to bring movement to the housing market and provide more people with homes that are suitable to their current needs.

“The focus needs to be on long-term solutions rather than headline grabbing numbers.

“It appears that the pre-election promises to focus on social care were empty ones.

“The Chancellor has a lot to get to grips with, but it is still very disappointing to see so little on social care in the Budget – the silence was deafening.”

The Budget was dominated by news of the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, and the Chancellor set out his plans to help businesses who would be out of pocket following their inability to work.

This focus prompted commentators such as David Copland, director of mortgage services at TMA, to highlight how little of the Budget focussed on help for first-time buyers and stamp duty.

Copland said: “Disappointingly, today’s Budget does not bring new hope to first-time buyers.

“With the Help-to-Buy equity loan scheme set to end in 2023, and no replacement initiative in place, more still needs to be done for ‘could-be buyers’ to help them onto the property ladder.

“Whilst today’s Budget tackled current wider economic challenges, it’s key that the government prioritises bringing in measures to support this community over the next 12 months.

“The Chancellor’s lack of plans to eradicate stamp duty tax for first-time buyers will be met by many with dismay. 

“This tax is punitive for many would-be buyers, adding thousands of pounds onto the upfront cost of a home purchase.

“In the coming months, I hope to see an extensive government review of the current stamp duty rules for first-time buyers – and potentially even downsizers.

“This should help restore market activity, freeing up much needed housing stock, and helping more borrowers take their first steps on the housing ladder, without facing a wave of extra costs.”

Stephen Haddrill from the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) commended Sunak on his measures to help the NHS and calm the disruption of coronavirus, however highlighted the importance of supporting customers in challenging times.

Haddrill, director general of the FLA, added: “The measures announced to help the NHS, consumers and businesses to deal with the likely disruption of coronavirus are very welcome.

“However, banks are not the only business finance providers, so the temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, in which banks will offer loans of up to £1.2m to support SMEs, would reach far more firms if non-bank lenders were also included in the plan.

“Supporting customers over the next few months will be absolutely vital – especially for those whose income is severely affected by the Coronavirus disruption.

“FLA members are there to help, so it’s important to keep talking to your lender.”

More to follow…

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