Autumn Statement - Meeting Place's industry digest
Unlike HS2, Jeremy Hunt announced Britain’s economy was “back on track” from the despatch box, as he unveiled his “Autumn Statement for growth”.
The tax changes will no doubt be welcomed across the country as the Cost of Living Crisis continues to bite, however, economic headwinds are still lingering – with the economy expected to grow slower than expected – 0.7% next year as opposed to the 1.8% forecast.
His quietly confident approach stood at odds with Rachel Reeves’ reaction, which questioned: “Does anything in Britain work better today than when Conservatives came into office 13 years ago?”
Whilst the tax changes will grab the headlines today, read on as we take a closer look at planning reform in the Autumn Statement and consider the impacts on the built environment.
A summary of the announcements:
- National Insurance paid by employees will be cut from 12% to 10%, from January 6
- State pension will increase by 8.5% from April 24 to over £220 a week
- The National Living Wage will rise from £10.42 to £11.44 an hour
- Universal credit and disability benefits will increase by 6.7% in line with September’s inflation rates
- However, work placements will become mandatory for those on welfare if they’re still looking for a job after 18 months
- The government has also made permanent the corporation tax breaks for businesses making investments into machinery, IT and equipment
What does it all mean for the built environment?
- Hunt has moved to ease the housing and planning pressures via a £32m pledge to “bust the planning backlog and develop fantastic new housing quarters in Cambridge, London and Leeds”
- Developers will be offered a “premium planning service” to level the “patchwork approach” to planning performance – allowing them to pay councils to speed up decision-making on major projects. If councils miss the deadline, they will automatically have to pay back the fees
- Hunt has also promised to support homebuilding, with £110 million over the next two years, to unlock nutrient mitigation schemes – with an additional 40k homes expected as a result
- There will also be a consultation into permitted development rights which will allow any house to be split up into two flats
- The NI and other cuts will no doubt instil buyer confidence, however, the expected stamp duty and inheritance tax changes didn’t come to fruition
- The mortgage guarantee scheme will be extended
- Despite this, industry commentators have said the lack of housing announcements feels like a missed opportunity to help would-be homeowners, with the challenge of higher rate mortgages expected to persist
- A £4.5bn fund to boost green technology was announced, which will “keep Britain at the forefront of the global transition to net zero” People living near pylons and electricity substations will receive £10k off their bills over a decade
Science and innovation sector:
- The Government hopes AI will be at the heart of future growth – with £500m invested to fund AI innovation centres
- New R&D tax reliefs were announced, alongside £520m for life science pharma companies
- The interventions are expected to attract over £2bn investment every year, along with manufacturing pledges
- A £50m to increase apprenticeships where there’s demand e.g. engineering
- Further details revealed on school reform, including the Advanced British Standard
Do get in touch with us, if you’d like to speak to the team about the statement and the likely impact on your projects…