Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond delivered a Spring Budget 2017 totally devoid of any help for the UK’s struggling housing market.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond delivered a Spring Budget 2017 totally devoid of any help for the UK’s struggling housing market. It also failed to lessen or backtrack on recent Stamp Duty hikes for landlords or the lettings fees ban.
The only palpable good news for agents includes a mooted extra tax for digital-only businesses to level the playing fields with their high-street competitors – something for agents facing competition from online-only and hybrid ones.
Other business benefits within the budget include a reduction of corporation tax from 19% to 17% by 2020 and that businesses with turnovers below the VAT threshold will be given a year’s grace before having to start quarterly digital reporting.
But for the industry’s 20,000 branches, a much-hoped-for reform of the business rates system did not materialise as major hikes loom for many high-street operators.
Instead, and in order to see off a potential Tory rebellion, the Chancellor announced a fighting fund of £435m to help soften the blow. This will include a £300m discretionary fund to be shared out by councils to businesses least able to take the rates hit.
Hammond also pledged that no business losing its small business rate relief would see it rates bill increase by more than £50 a month.
But the directors of many smaller estate agency businesses may be less happy with Philip Hammond.
He said during his speech that he intended to close the tax benefits gap between those who are directors of companies and those in employment, and has cut the tax-free dividend allowance business owners enjoy in half from £5,000 to £2,000 from April next year onwards.