Responding to the Chancellor’s Summer Economic Update, Melanie Leech, Chief Executive of the British Property Federation made the following comments:
“SDLT is also a significant barrier to further investment into our high streets. The Chancellor could have gone further and provided a reduction in SDLT for property transactions on our high street to incentivise investors to provide the capital required to support the creativity for the re-purposing and reinvention of our high streets.
“The ‘eat out to help out’ initiative and VAT cut should provide much-needed support for our hospitality and leisure businesses, providing support to the businesses at the sharp end of lockdown who property owners have also been working to support, helping to maintain jobs and get the high street back to life.
“I am disappointed that the Chancellor did not use today as an opportunity to announce business rates reform, to give businesses confidence in the long term. At the very least, downwards phasing, which means current rates payable continue to reflect valuations from 2010, should be abolished immediately. We need a fairer and more sustainable business rates system that is responsive to changes in rents and the wider economy.”
“The Chancellor is right to make traineeships a priority in his speech today, encouraging employers to continue to employ young people, providing them with a range of options and experiences. The Construction Talent Retention Scheme has our full support – to help support people in the sector who through the consequence of current conditions find themselves unemployed and to help ensure the construction sector doesn’t suffer its age-old problem of losing talent during economic downturns.
“We welcome the government’s commitment to decarbonising the UK’s housing market. The focus on improving the energy efficiency of low income households while stimulating employment is a step in the right direction. This announcement supports the dual ambition of greening the UK’s recovery and increasing employment opportunities.
“However, we are at a defining juncture in our long-term trajectory to achieve net zero by 2050. The built environment needs a long-term road map, which this announcement falls short of providing. In order to ensure the correct infrastructure, skills, policies and technologies are put in place to assist a transformation in the ways we live and do business, we urge the government to provide clarity on long-term investment in decarbonising heat, energy infrastructure upgrades, relevant policy milestones and electric vehicle charging networks. The built environment and investors plan long-term and if we are to attract the right type of investment to fuel our green recovery, certainty is a must.”
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)
“A temporary SDLT holiday will provide a welcome boost to the build-for-sale market, but other parts of the market equally need further support. To drive the delivery of new, high-quality rental homes, the Chancellor missed a trick today by not giving investors in the build-to-rent sector an exemption from the SDLT 3% surcharge.