It’s been tricky to keep up with HM Treasurys’ Budgets in recent years. Usually they’re set once every year, with a corresponding statement. But, Brexit, the pandemic, and various economic emergencies have forced scheduling changes. In 2017, we witnessed the last spring Budget until 2020. Also, since at least 2010, the UK has sometimes experienced more than one Budget per year, emergency Budgets, and a notorious mini-Budget.
But, despite how or when they’re delivered, Budgets always have a big impact on the economy and property investors. How you invest will likely be swayed by the latest announcements from the Chancellor.
In hindsight though, the announcements can feel like they blur into each other, or forgotten entirely. To help remind you of what’s come before, and give you an idea of what may be on the horizon, we’ve put together a summary of what’s been announced in more recent years.
Spring Budget 2023
Wednesday, 15 March 2023
- The Energy Price Guarantee scheme was extended until June
- Public leisure centres, charities, and pubs will all be offered support. Either through public investment or tax measures
- 12 new “Investment Zones” were announced, with the government aiming to create “12 new Canary Wharfs”
- A new policy of “full expensing” for businesses was announced. Meaning businesses who invest in IT equipment or machinery will be able to deduct the expenses “in full and immediately” from their taxable profits
- Sweeping reforms were announced for childcare, pension rules, and benefits in a bid to get people back into employment
Jeremy Hunt has delivered his first spring Budget. While it was relatively light on property news, many changes were announced that will have ramifications for UK property investors.
He started with some positive economic forecasts. We’re no longer likely to fall into recession and inflation is set to plummet to 2.9% by the end of the year, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). The public deficit is set to fall, and our budget is expected to be in a surplus over the coming years.
Yet, there’s still economic work to be done and on that, Mr Hunt made some major announcements (see highlights).
In terms of how this may affect your property investment plans, there could be both good news, and some potential downsides. With a rebounding economy, lower inflation, and more people back to work, we could see investment confidence return. Not least as there may be more demand for commercial properties, and large residential homes for couples who can finally afford to have a family.
But, Mr Hunt also confirmed that corporation tax will be rising from 19% to 25% for companies with over £250,000 in profits. This may hit property investors and portfolio landlords who choose to invest via a corporate setup.
Spring Budget 2021
Wednesday, 3 March 2021
- The personal income tax thresholds were to be frozen until 2026 – at £12,570 for the basic rate and at £50,270 for the higher rate
- Minimum thresholds for inheritance tax, pensions lifetime allowance, and capital gains tax were also frozen
- The stamp duty holiday scheme was extended. Originally launched in July 2020, the new announcement detailed properties worth up to £500,000 would still benefit into the end of June, rather than the end of March when the holiday was meant to end. And after that, there would still be no duty on homes worth up to £250,000 for another three months.
- The government would guarantee 95% mortgages for those who could only afford a 5% deposit
The Spring Budget delivered in March was, as to be expected, heavily focused on coronavirus support and keeping the economy afloat. But, there were some major announcements for property investors, savers, and workers. Many commentators focused on how this Budget effectively kicked the can down the road. Much was offered, but it would all need to be paid for at some point. The Times, Financial Times, and Guardian summarised it as a “spend now, pay later” Budget.
Yet, this spring Budget proved popular with the electorate, at least initially. A YouGov survey following it showed the conservatives enjoyed a bounce in the polls, establishing a 13-point lead over Labour. Also, the 2021 spring Budget proved to be the most popular in a decade, with 55 per cent of people describing it as “fair”.
Spring Budget 2020
Wednesday, 11 March 2020
- The tax threshold for National Insurance Contributions was raised from £8,632 to £9,500
- £600bn was dedicated to be spent on roads, rail, broadband and housing by the middle of 2025
- Stamp duty surcharge for foreign buyers of properties in England and Northern Ireland was to be levied at 2% from April 2021
- A new £1bn fund was created to remove unsafe combustible cladding from all public and private housing higher than 18 metres
- An extension of the Affordable Homes Programme, to the tune of £12bn
Rishi Sunak delivered his first spring Budget on March 11. The same day, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. As to be expected, many of the 2020 spring Budget announcements were focused on responding to Covid-19.
Billions were dedicated to the NHS, benefit claimants, and businesses. The spring Budget predicted 1.1% growth for the economy, but this figure did not take into account the impact of the pandemic. At this point in time many of us, from minimum-wage workers through to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, likely had no idea just how life changing coronavirus would be. While the focus was shifting onto damage control, there were some notable announcements (see highlights).
Many praised Rishi for going on a spending spree. But, both the Office for Budget Responsibility and the Resolution Foundation warned surges in spending could put the wider public at risk down the line.
Spring Budget 2019
As we delayed our EU withdrawal, the government skipped the 2019 Budget. We had too much to be dealing with as it was. If only we knew what was coming.
What needs to be remembered, is that no matter what changes are introduced in a spring Budget, the property market is ultimately driven by supply and demand. There are difficulties to overcome, but there’s still demand from renters, and a dearth of housing supply for eager buyers.
Also, over longer timeframes, property prices tend to shake off negative sentiment from spring Budget announcements, or any other economic happenings. Between early 2018 and late 2022, average UK property prices rose from £224,544, to £294,329. These increases occurred despite a global pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis, and political instability.
While you should always heed whatever changes are ushered in by a spring Budget, you should also focus on the long-term. And where you have an end-goal in mind, specialist finance may be able to help you realise it.