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Editor’s note: Hopes for a bland Budget


As you read this the Chancellor is likely to be applying the finishing touches to his latest Budget speech. There is one area of the market whose members will be praying that he shows them some mercy: the buy-to-let sector.

The combination of increased stamp duty rates, a gradual reduction in tax relief and the potential for Bank of England intervention is likely to hit the sector hard.

But the Government’s U-turn on its planned shake-up of pensions tax relief offers hope for the buy-to-let market.

With the Brexit referendum on the horizon, the Cabinet clearly wishes to avoid poking a stick in Middle England’s nest and risk pushing undecided voters into the ‘Out’ camp.

The same logic could equally be applied to the 1.4 million landlords in the UK and it would be a risky call if the Chancellor were to launch a fresh attack on the sector.

That said, one should not hold out too much hope of the Government watering down any of the proposals it has already announced.

Last week, 145 members of the Residential Landlords Association lobbied their MPs in the hope that the Chancellor would change his plan for mortgage interest relief so that it affects new borrowing only. At best, this is wishful thinking.

So what can we expect from the Budget?

It is likely there will be no ‘Rabbit out of the Hat’ moment like those we have seen in recent Budgets and Autumn Statements, although one can never be certain.

There may be some tweaking around the edges and self-congratulatory announcements regarding housebuilding but this will not be a Budget for a showpiece announcement, unless it is positive.

The buy-to-let sector in particular will be praying for a bland showing from George Osborne on 16 March. Whether its members get what they want will depend on whether the Chancellor has come to believe that his clampdown on landlords risks jeopardising the Government’s ‘In’ campaign.



Editor’s note: How the market can avoid further B2L intervention

It is well documented that the buy-to-let sector is in uncharted territory as far as regulatory and government intervention are concerned. Buy-to-let has been one of the most talked-about areas of the market since the Chancellor announced the gradual reduction of interest rate tax relief for landlords from April 2017. George Osborne’s intentions are clear: […]


Peter Williams: B2L is not an imminent threat to financial stability

The buy-to-let sector is not an imminent threat to financial stability but performs a vital function in the housing market Since the Chancellor delivered the first blow to the buy-to-let market in summer 2015 – restricting on a phased basis mortgage tax relief to the basic rate of income tax and reducing the wear-and-tear allowance […]


Commercial Watch: Investors seeing commercial as B2L alternative

Investors are seeing commercial and semi-commercial investment as a genuine alternative to buy-to-let. With all the recent tax changes and the stamp duty announcements, it is possible to believe the entire property investment market has gone into meltdown with everyone desperately trying to meet a deadline of some sort. I do not propose to provide […]


Bridging Watch: B2L stamp duty rise is no more than a molehill

The stamp duty increase is unlikely to be significant enough to deter potential market entrants or most existing landlords With the stamp duty hikes for buy-to-let properties just around the corner, there is a palpable sense of anticipation among professionals as to how the market will react. I have seen various headlines recently forecasting a […]

Iain Chadwick

The Budget 2015: a brief overview

Following George Osborne’s delivery of his sixth Budget as chancellor and the last of this current parliament, we have provided a brief overview of the initiatives put forward in his statement, focusing on the topics that have an impact upon the pensions landscape, savings, personal taxation and businesses.


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