Adam Lent: An agenda-shifting Budget - if a little underwhelming

By Adam Lent | 22 November 2017

This was the moment a British government finally got serious about the most pressing social problem facing the UK: our dysfunctional housing market. It is an issue on which a long line of Prime Ministers and chancellors have talked loudly while wielding a rather small policy stick. Today that changed.

In what was otherwise an underwhelming Budget, Phillip Hammond announced a bold package of measures and money which should go a considerable way to cracking the supply shortage that is at the heart of the problem. These included: a £44bn capital investment in housebuilding; a lifting of the HRA cap for councils looking to build in ‘high demand’ areas; a speedy review to recommend how to end land-banking; new powers for the Homes and Communities Agency (now renamed Homes England); an extra £2.7bn for the Housing Infrastructure Fund; and an eye-catching abolition of stamp duty for first time buyers.

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