Chancellor George Osborne outlines housing policy in his Autumn Statement

December 5, 2013 at 12:50 PM 2 comments

Chancellor George Osborne is determined to ‘avoid the mistakes’ of the last decade and ‘keep Britain moving’.


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At the heart of his housing policy announced in the Autumn Statement is building more homes.

He said: “Some of the most important infrastructure for British families is housing and we have to confront this simple truth: if we want more people to own a home, we have to build more homes.”

He also announced £1bn of loans to unblock large housing developments on sites around the country and confirmed that lenders Aldermore and Virgin are set to join the Help to Buy Scheme. The Help to Buy Scheme was introduced earlier this year to help those with a small deposit to buy a home.

“I can announce today that Aldermore and Virgin, two challenger banks, expect to join the scheme this month. Help to aspiring families and building more homes – that’s what we stand for,” said Osborne.

But he added a word of caution, saying: “We must also avoid the mistakes of the last decade.

“We want a responsible recovery….We want a functioning, stable housing market.”

Other items included:

  • Regenerating some of the most run down urban housing estates
  • Councils to sell off the most expensive social housing, so they can house more families for the same money
  • Giving working people in social housing a priority right to move if they need to for a job
  • Introduction of Capital Gains Tax on future gains made by non residents who sell residential property in the UK

The measures received a mixed welcome from the housing industry, with NHBC’s chief executive, Mike Quinton, saying: “We welcome today’s Autumn Statement highlighting measures to support house-building in the UK.”

David Newnes, of LSL Property Services – owners of the largest lettings agency in the UK – said: “Today the Chancellor has laid down some concrete steps to address the lack of supply in new housing, but this is only the start on the wider path to solving the problem. While Government initiatives such as the Funding for Lending and Help to Buy schemes have bolstered the recovery this year, the elephant in the room has always been the woeful shortage of new homes.

“The pledge of £1bn of loans to unlock large housing developments is certainly a welcome move and plans to increase local authorities’ housing revenue account borrowing limits are encouraging measures, both will play a part in boosting house supply, while at the same time preventing house prices from rising out of reach of buyers. Equal focus on expanding the Right to Buy offer and the Government’s investment into affordable housing shows efforts are being made. The Government must continue to lend a helping hand to aspiring buyers, so that they can achieve their dream of home ownership, while emphasising the need for more homes to support a healthy rate of recovery for the market as we move into 2014.”

Elsewhere, on the taxing of non residents, Liam Bailey, of estate agents Knight Frank, said: “Tax is not the primary driver for the majority of international buyers of residential property in London. We anticipate that the removal of the CGT exemption for non-resident purchasers will have only a marginal impact on demand and pricing.”

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Edward Harkins  |  December 5, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Entirely wrong-headed, top-down, Whitehall-knows-best approach by the UK Coalition Govt – moreover, from a Government that keeps going on about ‘localism’.

    ‘Forcing’ councils to sell off the most expensive social housing will worsen the shortage in the very places that decent affordable rented accommodation is needed – it’s the areas that’re expensive, not the social housing. The result will be a worsening of the social cleansing of expensive areas that the welfare system is already enforcing. Of course, it’s doubtless coincidental that that will pander to the prejudices of many of the typical Tory voters in such areas.

    Giving job-seekers priority in seeking social housing is pointless when there is an acute and growing shortage of social rented homes – a shortage that is created by the very same Government’s other policies. We also get into a socially inequitable scenario when taxpayers money would be used to provide subsidised social housing for the relatively better-off who have got a job, rather than for the very poorest in society without a job.

    Imposing capital gains tax on non-UK resident investors at point of residential resale will most likely have a minimal and longer-term impact, limited to London (as Knight Frank and others have already argued).

  • 2. paulemptage  |  December 5, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    its all well and good building more homes for families , but single people and couples without childen also require housing too , if it wasn’t for bloody immigration and and women having babys left right and centre we would not be in this mess we are in now would we ,


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