As we look back on the Autumn Statement, it’s clear that there was both good news and bad news for the construction industry. The headline announcement was the stamp duty overhaul, where the old ‘slab’ system (with sudden jumps in tax payable) was replaced by a more gradual increase in the rate of tax. This amounts to a £800 million tax cut. There were also infrastructure announcements, an extension of Funding for Lending and additional support for small businesses.
The Royal Institute of British Architects stated that the announcement of the Bicester garden city plans was ‘a positive step’ but ‘much more needs to be done’ to end the housing crisis. RIBA also expressed concerns about the approach to flood defences, stating that if we were going to continue building on floodplains then new housing and property developments must be designed with flood prevention and management in mind.
John Alker of the UK Green Building Council criticised the stamp duty overhaul, stating that the chancellor had missed a golden opportunity to link stamp duty to energy efficiency. December’s Autumn Statement barely even acknowledging green issues, and instead the chancellor continued to freeze fuel duty and cut taxes on air travel.
The British Property Federation’s chief executive Liz Pearce welcomed the review of business rates: ‘creating a business rates system fit for the 21st century will be one of the central challenges facing the next parliament, and we will continue to work with all parties to ensure the fairest possible settlement for rate-payers across the country, and all sectors of the economy.’
Elsewhere, the Federation of Master Builders was critical of the government’s lack of clarity on apprenticeship funding, but welcomed the extension of the Funding for Lending scheme.
For a full roundup of the Autumn Statement announcements, take a look at our Autumn Statement 2014 analysis.