This budget is for you, if…

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“If you’re a wealthy, healthy Londoner, own your own business and are looking to purchase your first home at about £500k, this budget is the one for you. If you’re anybody else, or genuinely in need, the budget doesn’t have much to offer.” – Victoria Bettany

This budget has failed to make any real commitment to the people missing out in the places that are missing out. National government needs to work in equal partnership with our regions to shape fair budgets that work towards social justice for everyone everywhere.

While any steps taken to make getting on the housing ladder a little easier are welcome, the abolition of Stamp Duty on homes up to £300k (and a discount on those up to £500k) by the Chancellor looks set to have very little impact outside London. The average cost of a home purchased by a First Time Buyer outside the capital and the South East is £153k, the average Stamp Duty paid is £568. Whilst I’m sure this saving would be welcome it is unlikely to cause a significant delay to a purchase.

Meanwhile, those buying in London typically pay around £10,500 in Stamp Duty on a property costing £410k. According to figures released by the Halifax[1], the average deposit on these homes is over £100k. The question we need to be asking here is if London’s £400k private homes is where the real housing need is in the UK? This discounting comes as the country has 120,540 children in temporary accommodation.[2]

There are other clear signs in the budget that money is not being used to support those most in need. The Chief Executive of NHS England for example called for a £4bn emergency injection of funding to tackle long waiting lists for operations that will affect millions of people. In response, the Chancellor has allocated just £2.8bn extra funding to NHS England, £1.2bn short of the amount required. This is all while the Chancellor commits £2.3bn to bring forward reductions in Business Rates for businesses operating in wealthy areas (the majority of which are somewhat unsurprisingly in London).

In summary, if you’re a wealthy, healthy Londoner, own your own business and are looking to purchase your first home, this budget is the one for you. If you’re anybody else, or genuinely in need, this budget doesn’t have much to offer.

If you are one of those that has lost out in this budget, don’t despair, whilst central government funding obviously plays a big role in what people and places are able to deliver, there is always something to be done locally to work towards better outcomes for all. CLES has been working alongside local people in local places for over 30 years to help them:

  • Localise public spending and procurement,
  • Socialise, by building social infrastructure, social enterprise and injecting social value into contracts, and,
  • Democratise their economy for the benefit of all, through public ownership of municipal investment and return vehicles, growing co-operatives to broaden out wealth gains, and authentically engaging citizens in democratic decision making.

Find out more about what we think should have been at the top of the Government’s priority list here.

[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/first-time-buyers-uk-homes-deposit-average-33000-housing-market-report-mortgage-a7816321.html

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/oct/04/theresa-mays-2bn-for-social-housing-unlikely-to-solve-problem