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Industry left empty-handed

The 2009 Budget held little for the mortgage market, other than a big fat £175bn IOU. Well, that’s not entirely true – if things pick up in your finances you could now find yourself paying 50% tax.

Everyone hoped, but no-one truly expected anything to be done on Stamp Duty, especially with such a whacking great big debt hanging over all our heads – remember, £175bn is just for 2009/10. Combined with all the existing debt, the true figure increases to 59% of GDP, a whopping £831bn. With bills like that, it’s unlikely we will see a reduction in Stamp Duty any time soon. Once the housing market gets going again, Stamp Duty represents the quickest way of filling the government coffers.

The government made much of the interest generated in its HomeBuy Direct scheme but there was precious little evidence of people using it in any significant number to get on the housing ladder.

But then again this was no ordinary Budget. As Prime Minister Gordon Brown and chancellor Alistair Dealing continually repeat, we are living through unprecedented times. The government has saved the banking system and stopped major banks from going under and adding to country’s growing legion of unemployed.

Fair enough. But it needs to do more to get banks lending again to stop more firms going under. While the asset-backed securities guarantee scheme is welcome, it is long overdue and continues to lock out the specialist market.

Darling pledged lenders – presumably the ones the government has a stake in – would increase the amount lent this year to the tune of £20bn, but this will be little help unless LTV barriers are relaxed and more first-time buyers can get on the housing ladder.

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Damp squib

There you have it, no more hiding from the obvious. Chancellor Alistair Darling has revealed the true extent of the country’s debt and, to put it bluntly, we’re in it up to our necks.

Some party

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Mole was pleased to hear that Alan Cleary, managing director of Exact, and Ian Lonergan, chief executive officer of Exact, partied in style to celebrate their own 40th birthdays.

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Case study: administration — managing group life schemes

Our client leads the global market in high-tech electronics manufacturing and digital media. The trustees of the company’s final salary pension scheme insure death-in-service lump sum and dependants’ pension death benefits for active employees, as well as dependants’ pension benefits for deferred members (those who have left service).

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