Speaking ahead of Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget announcement, James Dickens, Managing Director of Birmingham-based housebuilder Wavensmere Homes, said: “We are bracing ourselves for a lacklustre Budget, but every individual and business operating in the UK needs to believe there might be light at the end of the tunnel. To stimulate the economy and create increased revenue for the Treasury, some existing initiatives should be extended, and new timely incentives are now required from the Chancellor.
“With the weakness of Sterling against the Euro, a cut – rather than the planned significant rise – to corporation tax would be advantageous, given the UK is a net importer. Wages are high and yet the productivity of the country’s workforce is lower than it was prior to Covid. Businesses need access to new initiatives to be able to remain competitive within the global marketplace.
“It makes no sense to go through with April’s proposed change to the energy price guarantee as it would disproportionately affect the lowest income households – many of which are already reliant on foodbanks.
“With mandatory housing targets scrapped, there is a significant reduction in the number of affordable homes coming onto the market. Above inflation rises in the cost of raw materials, and additional new costs facing housebuilders for environmental mitigation – which would be more appropriately directed at those using fertilisers – are also negatively affecting the supply of lower cost new homes.
“With the recent conclusion of Help to Buy, the only help first time buyers have is the current Stamp Duty exemption for homes valued up to £425,000. But with less homes being built, there has been a marked impact on the rental market. For every home available to rent, there can be as many as seven people vying to occupy it. It is no surprise we have therefore seen rent hikes of 24% for soon to be completed homes at our Belgrave Village scheme in central Birmingham, and similar increases of 22% at Nightingale Quarter in Derby City Centre, where the final phases of the £165m scheme are being matched with buyers. With the continued rise in the cost of living, hard working people are more trapped than ever as renters, because mortgage deposit payments are so hard to save for.
“While no one is expecting the Chancellor to announce an unexpected silver bullet, the fragility of the UK’s economy is in need of a timely boost.”
Wavensmere Homes is constructing three major urban regeneration schemes, located in central Birmingham, Derby city centre, and Ipswich, and has further projects in the immediate pipeline. The Edgbaston-headquartered housebuilder has around 2,500 new homes either under construction or in planning.