The housebuilding industry broadly welcomed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s new “plan for jobs”, praising the increase of the stamp duty threshold to £500,000 and moves to help apprentices and young people at work. However, now the dust has settled, there are calls for urgently needed action to extend Help to Buy.
Larkfleet Group’s CEO John Anderson explains why: “The chancellor’s forecast 25 per cent fall in GDP over April and May is stark, and I welcome the government’s intervention to help reverse this dramatic decline.
“The UK faces a huge challenge to grow from this new low base and housing has to be core to that challenge. Every £1 spent on home building results in more than £3 in economic benefit, so I would encourage the government to supplement the Kickstarter fund and temporary stamp duty relief with an extension to Help to Buy. This scheme has helped hundreds of thousands of people get on the property ladder through the purchase of new-build homes. It is due to be scaled back in 2021 and withdrawn in 2023, and I fear this will have dire consequences not only for home seekers, but also for the house building industry.
“The housing market is key to economic wellbeing. The increase to stamp duty relief will inject urgency into a fragile market, but I would urge the government to avoid a hard stop when the much-needed relief ends on March 31 – and restrictions to HTB start the following day. The government must act now to extend HTB to avoid a double whammy effect in the spring of next year.
“We also welcome investment in the green economy focusing on improving the energy efficiency of our existing housing stock.”