Autumn Statement: Support needed for property professionals
The chancellor’s deficit reduction aspirations leave him with little room for manoeuvre, but I believe there are still things that can be done to stimulate growth.
The two main things I would really like to see is more deregulation for smaller firms and strong action to address the continuing stagnation in the housing market.
Small businesses in the UK are among the most heavily burdened in the world when it comes to compliance and regulation. While there has been some progress by government in this area, there hasn’t been any fundamental change to really encourage growth. While it would be a bit of a gamble, something like reducing employer National Insurance Contributions to help smaller firms with the cost of recruiting new staff would really help.
We also need something more substantial to jump start the housing sector. Working closely with architects and surveyors, I’m acutely aware of the difficulties faced in getting housing developments and commercial schemes through the planning process.
The government continues to consult on measures to streamline planning, we need urgent action to boost the construction sector and this includes greater encouragement for the banks to boost lending. It’s unlikely to happen, but a reduction in stamp duty would also help to stimulate the housing market.
Politically, we’re likely to see several measures that look to generate more tax revenue from the wealthy. While it’s right that we should all be in this together, my fear is that we could end with an Autumn Statement that punishes the wealth creators in society and comes at the expense of business growth and investment.
Karen Hain, partner and head of professional practices at Moore and Smalley