The Chancellor pledges to build 300,000 new homes a year, but the reception from leading economists has been conflicted, James Middleton reports
In his autumn budget, Philip Hammond announced an increase in housing funding, with an eye toward building 300,000 new council homes per year by the mid-2020s. Additionally, the Chancellor proposed to densify housing around existing rail links and to relax of select planning laws, as well as announcing the abolition of stamp duty for first-time homebuyers.
Writing in response, staff at the Adam Smith Institute welcomed the budget as a sign that “a grown-up is in charge of the country’s finances” and suggested the budget “avoided all major potential policy missteps”, though admitted the programme was “unambitious”.
By contrast, the Institute of Economic Affairs derided the budget as “ill thought-out” and alleging the Chancellor’s plans “fall desperately short”. Dismissing several of plans, such as those for young person’s travel card, as “miniscule […] allowing them to travel from a home they can’t afford to a well-paying job they don’t have”.
Both camps agree that the abolition of stamp duty for first-time buyers was in error, with Matt Kilcoyne at ASI claiming that “the cut in stamp duty is welcome, but should be across the board”, with the IEA’s Mark Littlewood claiming that the cut would come at the expense of “second-time buyers, largely growing families, who are obviously no less worthy of support”.
University student Allan Webb, 21, told JLDN that: “The idea of having a mortgage and a house, at this point, seems so far off that I haven’t even thought about it. Things like the railcard and white cider tax are much more interesting for me”.