There are less than two weeks to go until the 2020 Spring Budget. Unlike previous fiscal announcements, this budget takes on added significance. It is the first budget for a new chancellor, a new prime minister and a new government. It is also the first major fiscal announcement to be made since the UK formally transitioned out of the EU on 31st January 2020.
Given the circumstances, the 2020 Spring Budget is both a rare and unique opportunity for the government to outline its vision for the future. Will it use this opportunity to make bold spending announcements? Or will it take a more cautious approach? At the moment, it is difficult to tell what route the government will take.
Sajid Javid’s resignation as chancellor in early February makes things slightly more complicated. His decision to step down took many by surprise. And while Sajid Javid was vocal in his support of certain fiscal reforms in his short tenure as chancellor, his successor, Rishi Sunak, has kept his cards close to his chest.
No more waiting – creative action is needed
UK businesses and investors have proven resilient in the months and years following the EU referendum. With divisions in Westminster bringing parliament to an effective standstill for the most part of last year, the private sector stood undeterred. This is particularly true for the property and specialist finance markets.
Now, with a majority government in power and Brexit underway, businesses and investors are able to plan for the future. The same can also be said for the government. From potential reforms to Stamp Duty, Land Tax and Inheritance Tax to infrastructure spending that better connects the country, the government can use the Spring Budget to address the challenges currently facing the UK.
One issue in need of urgent attention is the housing crisis. Indeed, limited supply and increasing demand make it difficult for buyers and investors to jump on and progress up the property ladder. The government has proposed building one million new homes by 2025, but some question whether that target is feasible.
What we need to see is creative reform, guided by strong leadership. Just like those involved in the bridging finance sector, agile and creative thinking ensures the demands of the market are constantly being catered to. The same lessons can be applied to the government. For now, at least, all eyes are set on 11th March.