Budget 2020 – what’s on the horizon?
The Chancellor, Sajid Javid, announced he will be delivering his Budget on Wednesday 11 March.
Budget announcements are kept under – varyingly – tight wraps. But we can anticipate some of the changes which the Chancellor may announce.
Over the next month, individuals, representative bodies like the NLA, and other interested parties, are invited to submit their views to HM Treasury to consider. You can find more details on the gov.uk website, and the NLA submission will be published on our website.
Support for court reform?
The Government has indicated its commitment to abolishing Section 21, and has stated its intention to improve the possession process for landlords. But does that mean that the Treasury will pay for much needed reforms to the courts? There’s been no strong indication yet, but we will be lobbying hard given the risk to the private rented sector if landlords don’t have confidence in access to justice.
No change to rates of income tax and National Insurance
The Conservative manifesto committed the Government to freezing income tax, National Insurance and VAT ‘across the next Parliament’ – a strong statement given the Government has also committed to increasing spending. In addition, the Government will be increasing the National Insurance threshold to £9,500. The extra income will come from the additional borrowing allowed for capital projects, as set out in the new fiscal rules the Chancellor set out in November.
There will also be other tax changes which help furnish the Government’s policy proposals.
Increases to stamp duty
The Conservative manifesto also committed to introducing a new surcharge on stamp duty for non-UK resident buyers. They have already said that the funds this surcharge raises will go towards the Government’s ambition to end rough sleeping within this Parliament, and it’s likely there will be further commitments to address homelessness.
There are suggestions there could be further changes to stamp duty – with these likely to be aimed at encouraging first time buyers.
End of the benefit freeze
It was planned already for 2020, but the Conservative manifesto confirmed that the benefit freeze will come to an end. This will be welcome news for landlords who currently or may consider letting to tenants in receipt of benefits, with NLA data suggesting the proportion of members letting to tenants in receipt of either Local Housing Allowance or Universal Credit is 18 percent – down from a third at the beginning of 2013.
Full fibre, gigabit capable broadband to every home and business by 2025
One of the Prime Minister’s top priorities, it’s highly likely there will be a financial commitment to rolling out full-fibre broadband across the country. Landlords need to be aware that they will be contacted for permission to access their properties, in order to install fibre up to doorsteps. Further information can be found here.