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Last edited 16 Mar 2018
Spring Statement 2018
The Spring Statement 2018 was made on 13 March 2018.
In a cut down statement, Chancellor Philip Hammond gave an update on the overall health of the economy and the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts, and outlined progress made since the Autumn Budget 2017.
OBR’s Economic and fiscal outlook suggested that the public finances ‘…have reached a turning point, with borrowing down and the first sustained fall in debt for 17 years’. Growth was revised upwards, and the Chancellor suggested there was "...light at the end of the tunnel".
The Spring Statement confirmed progress:
- Working with 44 areas on their bids for the £4.1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund.
- Doubling the Housing Growth Partnership, which provides financial support for small housebuilders, to £220 million.
- Allocating £1.67 billion for a further 27,000 affordable homes by the end of 2021-22.
- Estimating that 60,000 first-time buyers have benefitted from the abolition of stamp duty for first-time buyers on homes under £300,000.
£1.7 billion was announced in the Autumn Budget 2017 for improving transport in English cities, half of which was allocated to Combined Authorities with mayors. The government are now inviting bids from cities across England for the remaining £840 million.
Views were also invited on changes to the tax system, including:
- Reducing single-use plastic waste.
- Ensuring multinational digital businesses pay a fair share of tax.
- Addressing the role of cash in the new economy.
- Extending the current tax relief to support self-employed people and employees when they fund their own training.
In response, Labour's shadow chancellor John McDonnell claimed that austerity was a political choice not an economic necessity and that public services were in "…a crisis on a scale we have never seen before".
Clair Prosser, BSRIA Press Officer, said; "Domestic economic growth continues to be tepid which highlights how crucial it is to seize a Brexit that yields engineering and construction industry jobs and careers and an industrial strategy that helps restores UK output..."
Ben Derbyshire, RIBA President, said; “We welcome positive news on the British economy, but to restore business confidence and secure long-term investment we urgently need the Government to address growing uncertainty about what Brexit will mean for architects and architecture in the UK."
Melanie Rees, Chartered Institute of Housing head of policy, said; "In his statement the chancellor said that the government’s focus on reducing the national debt is to give the next generation a chance, but unless we quickly start to build more of the right homes in the right places then the next generation will have absolutely no chance of getting access to a home that they can afford."
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