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Budget 2018 Expert Analysis from Andrew & Co Solicitors

Earlier this week (29th October), Phillip Hammond delivered his third budget as Chancellor in a speech which lasted over 70 minutes. Read our blog for further analysis...

The time of the year might be different, but the level of detail remains the same. Presented to a boisterous House of Commons, this budget is arguably one of the most important in recent times as the UK continues to prepare to withdraw from the European Union next year.

As always, this budget was filled with rafts of new policy and funding changes.

In our latest blog, three of our leading experts from the world of residential property, commercial property and motor law delve into Mr Hammond’s budget promises in more detail.

Residential Property – Joanne Sworder

The Chancellor announced some further stamp duty changes for first-time buyers after introducing tax relief in last year’s budget.

He extended the relief to include first-time buyers purchasing shared ownership properties who do not elect to pay stamp duty on the market value of the property but instead pay it in stages.

It’s important to note that this extension will apply retrospectively from 22nd November 2017 onwards, meaning those who did pay stamp duty under the previous rules will be able to claim a refund of the tax they paid.

Purchasers of a shared ownership property who elect to pay stamp duty on the market value of the property rather than in stages will have been eligible for the relief since its introduction.

However, the relief does not mean that no stamp duty will be paid up to £500,000. First-time buyers purchasing their first home for £300,000 or less will pay no stamp duty.

Where the purchase price is over £300,000 but does not exceed £500,000, they will only pay five per cent on the amount above £300,000. So, if you buy your house for £400,000, you will pay five percent on £100,000 which would total to £5,000.

In a nutshell, the changes announced in this week simply bring those first-time buyers of a shared ownership property who elect to pay stamp duty in stages in line with other first-time buyers.

Roads – Michael Pace

The Government has announced a £30 billion package for England’s roads and motorways. This is a substantial amount; however, many will be sceptical as to whether that money will translate into sorting out England’s crumbling roads for the long term. Going on recent history, this could be a nice headline figure but practically, it lacks substance.

As part of that package, £420 million will be allocated to local authorities in England solely to repair potholes. Once divided up between the councils, this sum of money amounts to very little. Counties with a larger road network, such as Lincolnshire, will find their allocation will have to be spread more thinly.  

I hope the money is spent to improving the roads in the long term, not just as a short-term fix.

Commercial Property – John Roper

There were two key points affecting the commercial property landscape.

Firstly, the Chancellor committed a new scheme to support small and medium-sized housebuilders to the tune of £1 billion. The scheme will be delivered by the British Business Bank.

Secondly, owners and occupiers of commercial properties with a rateable value of below £51,000 will have their business rates cut by one third for two years from April 2019.

Both measures are business friendly and positive for SMEs.  

The increase in lending support for SME housebuilders is part of the Government’s drive to increase the supply of housing and should help those developers who have previously found it difficult to finance developments.

A cut in business rates will go some way to helping small businesses feeling the pinch. The future of the high street continues to look bleak, but this change will be welcomed by owners and occupiers of small high street shops who are looking to even out the playing field between themselves and big chains.

To contact Andrew & Co Solicitors for more expert advice, please call their offices in Lincoln or Newark on 01522 512123 and 01636 673743 respectively.