The final Budget of this Parliament was delivered in March. Julien Pritchard considers some of the headline issues affecting the commercial property sector.
The main announcement which is of interest is the government’s commitment to the long-promised (and some would say overdue) review of business rates. Large and small business has been lobbying on this issue for some time now highlighting the adverse effect which the system has on business (especially SME’s) and the adverse effect the system has on economic recovery. This should be good news for the property sector. However, only time will tell.
The government has announced a number of new enterprise zones but unfortunately none in the South East of England.
Tax relief will be granted for contributions to flood defence projects.
The government has announced the Help to Buy: ISA. First-time buyers who choose to save through a Help to Buy: ISA will receive a government bonus, which will be calculated and paid when they buy their first home. We do not expect this to have a marked effect on this sector but it will assist some.
The March 2015 Budget sets out information on the government’s commitment to house building. This includes (subject to a business case) £7 million funding from 2015-16 to 2019-20 to the Greater London Authority to support the delivery of the Croydon Growth Zone, which could unlock over 4,000 homes and £97 million of funding to support the London Borough of Barnet and the Greater London Authority’s plans for the regeneration of Brent Cross, unlocking 7,500 new homes. This will in my view assist growth in this area.
The government will provide £4 million to New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership for further development work on the Ipswich Wet Dock Crossing and Lowestoft Third River Crossing.
The planning system in the UK is still considered to be cumbersome, expensive and bureaucratic. To address these issues the government is continuing with a number of measures to improve and streamline the planning system, albeit slowly.
The government will update its planning guidance to clarify that it should be possible for owners of non-residential properties to rent out their existing parking spaces without requiring planning permission, provided there are no substantive planning concerns.
In reality we will have to wait and see which party (or combination of parties) gets in to power in May and which, if any, of the Budget promises are enacted.
Please contact us on 01708 229 444 for more information or visit the Commercial Property page to find out more.