Companies React to Autumn Statement

Reactions to Autumn Statement:

Urban

Adam Male, Founder of online estate agent Urban.co.uk gives his reaction:

“The decision to freeze out investors with a hike in stamp duty by adding a further 3 per cent onto buy-to-let property shows the government’s clear dedication to first time buyers. This is a definite requirement in today’s market, but it is also important to remember that we are not only a nation of first time buyers!

Making it more expensive for anyone to buy an investment property in the UK will undoubtedly result in fewer investment buyers entering the marketplace. Coupled with a £2.3 billion budget planned to be spent on new affordable housing, the Chancellor’s plans to provide properties for the nation is seemingly on track.

However, for the thousands of UK households that can’t afford to buy, even with assistance, there is the danger that with investors shunning the UK, this latest tax on landlords may leave tenants with fewer options. A fifth of tenants in our recent Tenant Survey believe that they will never manage to get on the property ladder and will continue to rent as a long term option. This is especially the case in and around London, where property prices are outside the capabilities of most, even with assistance from government-led schemes.

Creating this higher demand will in turn push the rental rates higher – high prices, demand outstripping supply – all sound a little familiar? The last thing we want to see happen is the popping of one housing bubble, and the creation of another!”

The Brick Development Association (BDA)

Chancellor George Osborne gave his UK Autumn statement today which unveiled a number of new measures expected to impact the industry.

The Brick Development Association (BDA) welcomes the news that the Government has committed to investing £7bn into 400,000 new homes.

Simon Hay, CEO of the Brick Development Association comments:

“We are pleased by the provision of £7bn for new homes. The focus now must be on turning housing promises into on-the-ground project delivery.

“We look forward making our contribution to addressing the chronic housing shortage that has built up over recent decades. The re-openings and development of new brick plants are already incredibly positive signs in the revitalisation of the housebuilding sector.

“We should take positively from the news that new-build housing has risen by such an extent, and should continue to rise over the next year as more focus is directed towards the current housing situation.”

This follows the news that, in figures released last week by the Department for Communities and Local Government, the amount of new homes built has risen by a quarter on the previous year.

The BDA also welcomes the new levy to provide 3 million apprenticeships, and aims to support brick-related industries to attract an increased number of apprentices and help to address the skills shortage gap.

NOMA

Manchester’s newest neighbourhood praised Chancellor George Osborne after today’s Autumn Statement promised further devolution of powers and a strong commitment to the ‘Northern Powerhouse’.

The Chancellor unveiled plans to give the Greater Manchester Combined Authority more control over the €415 million of European funding, which will help channel funds into local infrastructure and drive forward Manchester’s agenda.

The Chancellor also announced new tax powers giving Mayors new power to raise business rates to fund local infrastructure projects.

David Pringle, director of NOMA, said:

“The announcement of further powers for northern cities is a welcome move from the Chancellor. Giving northern cities more power over their futures will be central to shaping cohesive and thriving business destinations.

“Manchester is a leading example of the power of devolution. Investment in valuable transport links, such as HS2 and the Ordsall Chord, is laying the foundations for a well-connected and flourishing city. On top of this, devolved planning powers have allowed a new land commission to earmark public land for necessary development, making Manchester an attractive landmark for long-term institutional investment.”

Euler Hermes

Kalpana Padhiar, risk underwriting manager and construction specialist at global credit insurer Euler Hermes, said:

“The commitments to housebuilding and new infrastructure show this is certainly a builder’s budget. Together with the strengthening flow of investment into the public sector, the Autumn Statement provides a timely shot in the arm for construction.

“However, with 250,000 new houses needed annually, the pledge to fund 400,000 starter homes this Parliament still falls short of meeting market demand, and does little to release the pressure of the increasing labour skills gap on those contracts where profit margins are already tight.”

The Sustainable Energy Association (SEA)

Industry today gave a mixed response to a Spending Review that saw a further down grading of energy efficiency policy, the continuation of the Renewable Heat Incentive, and new money for construction of a sizeable number of new homes. 

Responding to the Spending Review and Autumn Statement, Dave Sowden, Chief Executive of the SEA, said:

“It could have been worse. Having done a phone-round of a number of our senior members, there is a sigh of relief in some sectors, grounds for optimism in others, and despondency elsewhere.”

“On household energy efficiency, today represents a considerable watering down of energy efficiency policy. Whilst the Government has properly paid attention to limiting the impact on fuel bills, it has missed an opportunity to declare Energy Efficiency as a National Infrastructure Priority, scale up ambition in this area and consider routes for funding other than on energy bills. This is a missed opportunity for millions of families to be permanently better off.”

“On Heating, we broadly welcome the package of measures announced today. In particular the uncertainty surrounding the RHI’s continuation has been removed (albeit with significantly reduced ambition), and the measures announced for heat networks are to be welcomed”

“On New Build, we are pleased that the Chancellor has committed additional public money to a new wave of house-building, but it is important these homes are built to as standard that minimises their energy usage. To do otherwise not only results in more wasted energy and money in the long-term, it also creates a future need for retrofit”.