The Spending Review informs the UK Government’s spending priorities over multiple years and the Budget provides a statement on the nation’s finances and any proposed changes to taxation.
This means it is an extremely important mechanism for influencing decisions that can have a significant and long-term impact on the property industry.
Autumn Budget 2021
Setting out Propertymark's representation to the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021, we have urged action and funding across four key areas to help unlock the potential of the property industry to support the levelling up of our country and communities as we build back better from the devastating social and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Review the impact of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) following the reduced rates to support the economy during the pandemic and set out a roadmap for potential reform. Options to amend the rates and thresholds would be explored so they better reflect local markets, support buy-to-let investment, prevent existing landlords from leaving the industry and facilitate movement in and across the housing market. A roadmap would help reaffirm policy objectives and ensure the land transaction tax system is fit for purpose and relevant in a post-COVID-19 context.
- Develop a private renting sustainment and support programme to help prevent further debt, poverty and homelessness, and to help enhance access to affordable housing for households displaced as a result of COVID-19. Renters and landlords whose finances have been affected since lockdown cannot keep tenancies going without additional financial support. A programme would comprise of an interest-free UK Government-backed tenant hardship loan scheme, the retention of the £20 per week Universal Credit uplift, and restore Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile. A programme of support would ensure Universal Credit is adequate and more effective so that landlords and letting agents would have more confidence to offer tenancies to claimants. Local councils would also be given adequate financial funding to drive up standards through enforcement.
- Adequately resource and reform the existing courts' system to deal with the volume of possession hearings following the stay on evictions and extension to notice periods through the course of the pandemic. The present route to possession via the courts for private landlords is slow, complex and costly and with the UK Government’s Renting Reform agenda on the horizon, the Chancellor has the perfect opportunity in the Spending Review to ensure we have a court system that can ensure faster access to justice for both landlords and help to safeguard the supply and quality of housing via enhanced confidence in the justice system.
- Invest in supporting landlords to make energy efficiency improvements by reintroducing an improved and enhanced Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme and ensuring that policies extend beyond a one-size-fits-all approach. Measures must account for the different age, condition, and size and of properties in the private rented sector and account for when retrofitting costs amount to an unmanageable proportion of a property’s total value. Additionally, new energy efficiency target rules and requirements for domestic premises must be realistic and achievable.