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  • Published:
    22 November
  • Area of Law:
    Firm news

Autumn Budget 2017: Impact on social housing sector

Our social housing experts comment on the Chancellor's 2017 Autumn Statement and the impact on the social housing sector.       

Local Authority freedoms

Rachel Gwynne, affordable and social housing specialist at law firm, Shakespeare Martineau, said:

“The Chancellor is not a risk-taker and this has shown in his approach to easing borrowing restrictions and removing the housing account borrowing cap for local authorities.

“By offering these new measures to a select number of councils, the Chancellor has failed to adopt the ‘across the board’ approach needed to rejuvenate public sector house building. Pledging to build a million homes in the Oxford-Cambridge corridor is a positive step, but many other areas around the country will be feeling left overlooked by this announcement.”

Stamp Duty rethink

Louise Drew, head of social housing at law firm, Shakespeare Martineau, said:

“The Chancellor’s move to scrap Stamp Duty for first time buyers is a step in the right direction in addressing the housing shortage. SME house builders, who traditionally have had to compete with larger market players with budgets able to offer financial incentives to buyers, such as payment of Stamp Duty, will find themselves on a much more level playing field.

“First time buyers will be glad of the move to abolish Stamp Duty, however it is disappointing that the Chancellor failed to deliver for older generations. This was a key point in his opening speech and it’s a shame more wasn’t announced to incentivise older people to right size into more suitable properties.”

Welfare Reform

Louise Drew, head of social housing at law firm, Shakespeare Martineau, said:

“Removing the seven day waiting period from claim to entitlement for Universal Credit will have a knock on positive effect for Registered Providers. Rent arrears is a an important KPI for Registered Providers and most people are in arrears when they take up a tenancy, remaining that way due to an absence of cash.

“Being able to claim up to five weeks’ entitlement up front will benefit both claimants and Registered Providers. More favourable KPI measurements with more cash up front will in turn improve the performance of Registered Providers making them attractive to external investment.”

"They are very professional, respond promptly, always discuss the monthly bill and have, so far, provided us with excellent advice in connection with employment issues. I have been very satisfied."

Andrew Argyle LLB, Practice Director, Potter Clarkson LLP