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Property and Taxation: Jeremy Hunt’s Final Budget?

Adam Lawrence, Property entrepreneur and co-founder of Partners in Property, comments

Ahhh, Jeremy. Curator of the red briefcase. Financial engineer.

Successful entrepreneur. No chancellor has come close to mastering the framework that a self-confessed economics beginner (Gideon “George” Osborne) weaved together including the Office for Budgetary Responsibility (OBR), the fiscal rules framework, and much more. Some of them in the interim, of course, simply haven’t had time. It is hard to make generational comparisons, because economics has moved on, but it should be clear that Jeremy Hunt really does know what he is doing.

This comes down to the level of manipulating the scenario that the OBR puts in front of the Treasury and coming out with additions to GDP of 0.25% and 0.5% (the last two budgets). These are not small feats in a world where we are expected to grow, as a nation, at around 1.7% per annum with no other exogenous shocks (remember those days?). I’m not 100% convinced the OBR is correct, but it doesn’t really matter what I think - the international markets seem to lap it up, and what it does show (whether the framework is correct or not) is that we have robust international governance on our finances that many a country in the world would be very jealous of.

So - the box was ticked on that front. 0.25% added to GDP going forward. More of that, please. No-one really cared though because they had their eye on two other things instead. Firstly - it is an election year, so the question is not “would there be a tax cut” but “what will the tax cuts look like”. The right-wing media went into overdrive, pushing for tax to be cut to zero per cent it seemed - very standard. No thinking, rhyme or reason, let alone any harking back to what happened when Truss and Kwarteng tried to force through some tax cuts that we simply couldn’t afford as a nation and dismissed the OBR as TL:DR stuff that we didn’t need to worry our pretty little heads with. Thank goodness that approach was shown the exit door ASAP.

Secondly, in our world, what would change for property? Those who keep abreast of events - which by definition will include those reading this article - would happily tell you that there’s enough going through (or not) parliament at the moment. Renters reform bill (wings clipped). Leasehold reform (wings clipped). Planning changes for short lets. What will be successful before parliament is brought to an end for this government, when the election is announced and scheduled - we don’t know. I suspect whatever has the most political capital. 

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