By the time you read my words below, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, will have announced the detail contained within the Spring 2023 Budget. Unfortunately your editor’s influence does not reach as far as 11 Downing Street, so I have had no advance warning of its content. Being somewhat cynical about the ongoing motives of many politicians, it is very likely that Mr Hunt will have an upcoming General Election in mind, probably in early 2025, when announcing his summary of the nation’s finances and any policy changes.
Housing as we all know is a political football in the UK, as in many countries and with tenant votes outnumbering those from landlords by some 500%, I would be surprised to learn on 15th March about any new and serious policy announcements, which will quickly impact the acute shortage of good quality rental property in many UK towns and cities.
North of the border in Scotland, where an even more tenant-vote focused group of politicians hold the balance of power, the shortage of rental stock is also an ongoing concern. My interview with Highlands based Gordon Thomson on page 18 underlines the situation there, as he explained to me just how much opposition they encounter with every planning proposal they submit.
Their strategy now is short lets via serviced accommodation, an increasingly fashionable choice for investors and developers, as some individual landlords try to make sense
of the impact of the Section 24 tax by selling up or exiting the long term lettings market.