What does the COVID-19 outbreak mean for Government’s latest housing announcements?

On 11 March 2020, Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP gave his debut Budget, just weeks after taking on the role. With a background dominated by the COVID-19 outbreak and its increasing economic impact Mr Sunak unveiled significant measures for the response to the disease with both direct funding, and through tax reliefs for impacted businesses and individuals being made available.

Despite relatively gloomy economic forecasts, this was a high-spend fiscal statement with funding made available for large scale infrastructure projects across the UK, freezes to alcohol and fuel duty and specific tax cuts.

The housing sector was in line for investment at the Budget, with billions made available to increase construction of affordable housing. Mr Sunak resisted large scale changes to Stamp Duty but brought in a surcharge of 2% on non-UK buyers from 2021, which will be used to fund a £643 million investment in tackling rough sleeping.

While the Chancellor’s housing announcements, and those made by the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick the following day were significant, all Government policies have been moved to a lower priority in the face of the Government-wide response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

For our full analysis of the property announcements made in the Budget on the 11th March, and the Government’s latest housing response to the Coronavirus crisis – see our full property briefing here.

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