In his first Budget since the snap General Election, Chancellor Philip Hammond set out his plan for the country’s economic future, with investment in housing, skills and a shot in the arm for the NHS at the heart of his 2017 speech.
But what will the announcements mean for business in our region? Will promises today of jam, or rather homes, tomorrow, materialise? And how might we be able to help you make the most of the opportunities ahead?
FBC Manby Bowdler legal experts respond below to the Budget 2017.
Corporate law specialist Stuart Rea, Partner with FBC Manby Bowdler in Shrewsbury, said: "Many small businesses were worried about potential changes to the VAT threshold, and so today's announcement by the Chancellor to leave well alone will be welcomed by the business community.
"The decision to bring forward changes to business rates will be worth £2.3bn to businesses in the UK over the next five years and this will have a direct positive impact on many of our small businesses.
"The investment in the future workforce, particularly in construction and tech, is a move which is vital if our regional economy is to achieve its growth potential.”
His colleague, James Sage, a Corporate Law Partner in Wolverhampton, also welcomed the Chancellor's announcements on skills investment.
"The investment in maths and computing is key, especially for manufacturers. Moves to ensure the workforce is appropriately skilled is vital to delivering growth for the sector.
"It was also good to hear Mr Hammond confirm he would be reviewing how Apprenticeship Levy payers are able to spend that money when it comes to training their own staff.
"But for SMEs generally there was very little in the Budget, although many will be relieved at the decision to leave the VAT threshold in place at £85,000 and not reduce it, as had been mooted."
If it wasn’t a Budget for business, it was a Budget designed to reboot the housing market, with investment in construction skills and infrastructure. Mr Hammond also announced a target to build 300,000 new homes.
Planning specialist Niall Blackie, Head of Town and Country Planning at FBC Manby Bowdler, welcomed the announcement on new home building but warned that meeting a 300,000 target would be impossible if not accompanied by planning reform.
"This is not the first time that the Government has set ambitious housing targets, the problem is that it has often failed to meet those targets.
"There was no detail on how exactly he intended to free up the planning system, or how the measure to force developers to implement permissions are likely to work, other than to announce a review into the issue.
"The planning reform needs to ensure that councils actually grant permissions more quickly and on more land than they currently free up for development."
Read more about the Town & Country Planning Reaction.
The Chancellor also announced that stamp duty was being abolished for first time buyers for properties worth up to £300,000 and anyone buying a home worth up to £500,000 won’t have to pay stamp duty on the first £300,000.
Philip Hammond scrapped stamp duty for first-time buyers for properties worth up to £300,000 and anyone buying a home worth up to £500,000 won’t have to pay stamp duty on the first £300,000.
FBC Manby Bowdler’s Neil Lloyd discusses what it could mean and how our own first time buyers deal can also give your finances a boost:
“The Chancellor was under great pressure to deliver a package of measures to help first time buyers and give the overall housing market a boost. More first time buyers coming into the market is what helps the housing stock keep moving as people look to move up or down the housing chain.
His plan, the Treasury says, will mean 80 per cent of first time buyers will pay no stamp duty and could reduce the cost of buying a home by up to £5,000.
While only time will tell if the Government’s move has the desired effect, it’s welcome news for anyone looking to take their first steps on the property ladder.
At FBC Manby Bowdler, we have our own special deal for those looking to snap up their first ever property. We are offering first time buyers a discounted conveyancing service for just £550 (plus VAT and disbursements). That’s for all property purchases up to £300,000.
Our experienced First Time Buyer team will guide you through the process from start to finish, with the aim of making your moving experience as smooth as possible. And, of course, you’ll still get the same high quality service we’re renowned for.
To understand the process of buying a property, download our Residential brochure HERE.
To take advantage of our special first time buyer discounted offer, please contact our First Time Buyer team on 0800 111 6144.