House building and BTL tax reversals top Autumn Statement wishlist

London, UK - July 2, 2011: Model figurine of a businesman standing at Super Tax on the board game monopoly Model figurine of a businesman standing at Super Tax on the board game monopoly with hotel on Mayfair and houses on Park Lane and Dice in the background

With just 24 hours to go before the Autumn Statement, the industry has spoken out on what it hopes and expects Chancellor Philip Hammond to announce tomorrow, with housebuilding measures and the reversal of buy-to-let taxes topping the wishlist.

Here is a round-up of the aspirations of industry figures in the Statement:

“This year – like many others – Stamp Duty, borrowing and housing measures will inevitably come under intense scrutiny from those in and around the industry.

“It would be somewhat surprising to see any major Stamp Duty changes but it’s clear that issues surrounding private housebuilding will be high on the Chancellor’s agenda.

“[As an IMLA survey suggested] Social housing and shared ownership should remain key priorities for Government support, while intermediaries are keen to see more focus on last-time buyers – another highly important and relevant area which needs continued focus.

“As always there may well be some surprises and curveballs included within this statement. We hope the Government will continue to demonstrate its commitment to help bridge the affordable housing supply gap and allow more people of all ages to meet their borrowing and housing needs.”

Barclays director of mortgages, Craig Calder.

“Philip Hammond is expected to unveil a fund of up to £5bn targeted at small and medium sized [housing developers]. On one hand, while this seems like music to the ears of small business owners, the reality of it could be much more fraught.

“What small developers really want to know is; access. When will they start seeing the funding? What’s the time frame from the Government? How soon can the fund translate into land purchases where they can start building work? These are all areas that needs addressing from the Government to put confidence back into small developers to move forward and start creating homes for a generation that desperately needs it.

“We saw the initial boost in funds last year when the Government gave £100m to support small developers.  However with the complexities, red tape of planning laws, lending and local council bureaucracy, small developers are hardest hit when it comes to securing bricks and mortar projects.

“This Autumn Statement I want the Government to be transparent in how the funds will be unlocked for small developers, so they can start building the necessary homes across the country.”

Quivira Capital director and founder, Rajiv Nathwani

“We would like to see increased support for the housing market and smaller SME housebuilders in particular. Support to date has focused on larger housebuilders, but we think it is time for the large numbers of smaller SME housebuilders to be given a boost – so much of this translates into wider economic benefit.”

Hampshire Trust Bank chief executive Mark Sismey-Durrant

In order to incentivise investment in property, particularly for SME developers, the Government should revise down Stamp Duty to make property investment a more affordable endeavour. This is increasingly important if the Autumn Statement shows the economy has been negatively affected by a vote to leave the European Union, which could see a slowdown in the property market.

“Many in the property and housing industry, including the National Landlords Association, RICS and the Residential Landlords Association are calling on Government to address the changes to finance cost relief. In its current form, the policy imposes a greater tax burden on private landlords by effectively taxing turnover from rental income, rather than profit. An increasingly complex tax system in the private rented sector could negatively impact on business decisions as the yield from rental investment is constrained for private landlords who are pushed into higher tax brackets in virtue of their turnover, rather than profit. LendInvest encourages government to review the system with a view to incentivising investment in this type of tenure.”

Lendinvest co-founder and chief investment officer Ian Thomas