Matthew Midwinter, partner and rating expert in our London office, shares his predictions on Chancellor Philip Hammond’s first Autumn Statement since taking over from George Osborne after the Brexit vote.
Matthew said: “One of the key policy changes already confirmed by Mr Hammond is that, unlike his predecessor, he will not pledge to balance the books by the end of this Parliament. This means that we can expect to see more government borrowing, most likely to fund investments in large infrastructure projects including both road and rail improvements.
“Several of these projects will require the purchase of larges areas of land before any work can be undertaken, so both homeowners and businesses can expect to see more compulsory purchase activity from acquiring authorities such as The Highway Agency, HS2 and TfL.
“Many also expect the Autumn Statement to announce a £3 billion housing fund to incentivise small housebuilders in particular, and therefore address the housing shortage in selected areas of the country. Mr Hammond may also introduce changes to stamp duty and could scrap the surcharge currently affecting the purchase of second homes, buy to let investments and holiday homes.
“Finally, in the commercial property sector, we already know that the revaluation of commercial property for business rates comes into force from April next year. This will see large increases in liabilities in some sectors and locations with falls in business rates in other areas, but we still do not have details of the system which will be in place after April 2017.
“This lack of clarity is causing uncertainty in the market as businesses cannot confidently predict their occupational costs, so I sincerely hope that the Chancellor will use the Autumn Statement to confirm the new business rates system and provide UK businesses with the details they require to plan ahead.”