Autumn statement: what it means for housing

Row of houses
Published on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 10:17
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

Find out all about the autumn statement, what it means for the sector and what we expect to see in our Conversations Inspired by Housing magazine feature.

What is the autumn statement?
The autumn statement is an announcement from the Chancellor to present his latest plans for the UK economy to Parliament. The Chancellor's decisions should be based on five-year forecasts for the economy and public finances, which are independently produced by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). These forecasts are published on the same day as the autumn statement.

This year the autumn statement will be made by George Osborne on 5 December, at 12.30pm.

It will contain announcements about planned government actions to influence the economy. In particular it will include spending allocations, and incentives or schemes to help specific parts of the economy. Many of the announcements will relate only to England but any decisions on issues that are not devolved, such as welfare and tax, will affect the whole of the United Kingdom. We expect the government to publish some additional housing announcements and a review of its English housing strategy soon, and it is likely that the autumn statement will contain more detail on this.

Why does the autumn statement matter for the housing sector?
The housing sector has an interest in what the Chancellor announces because:

It will give an idea of what might happen to the economy in the near future - this helps housing organisations with business planningIt might include additional details for policies and initiatives that have already been announced – this helps housing professionals to make more informed decisions about how to work with these policiesIt may allocate or remove funding for activities that the sector is involved with or has an interest inIt might contain announcements on employment conditions, pensions, fuel duty and taxes paid by businesses - these affect housing organisations as employers and service providers

What do we expect to see in the autumn statement for the housing sector?The autumn statement is the product of lengthy discussions between the Treasury, Number 10, the Cabinet Office, and other government departments and agencies which pitch ideas and work on details. Government is also subject to extensive lobbying by stakeholders who want to see their ideas and interests represented. Some of the details will be closely guarded until the Chancellor addresses Parliament, whilst others will be heavily trailed in the media.

Almost certain:

  • More detail on government guarantees for new housing supply
  • Additional new measures using housing to boost economic growth
  • Detail on universal credit, including the amounts payable to claimants
  • Might make the cut:
  • Further reductions in spending on welfare
  • Lifting restrictions on local authority borrowing within the Housing Revenue Account
  • Measures to tackle rising homelessness

Really ought to be in there:

  • Amounts payable for universal credit ensure that low earning households are better off than they would have been under the welfare system as it was in 2010
  • Immediate action to help households currently affected by increasing B&B use and rising homelessness
  • Commitment to a thorough appraisal of options for social and affordable rent setting after 2015
  • Support for local authorities to work effectively within the revised planning system
  • Changes that allow local authorities to make better use of housing revenue account reforms
  • Further action to encourage home energy efficiency improvements

Source: ©CIH

 

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