In anticipation of George Osborne’s Autumn Statement on Wednesday 25th November, representatives from a cross section of business lines at Colliers International have identified five key points that they would like to see addressed by the Chancellor in his speech next week.

What we’d like to see:
1.    “We would all like to see the Chancellor step up and say that the Budget was balanced and that the EU had already made so many concessions that there is no need for an EU Referendum.  This would allow us to focus on the real tasks at hand, which are; devolving, restructuring and developing the UK regional economies.  

Walter Boettcher, Chief Economist and Researcher, Colliers International

2.    “Cameron’s pledge to provide 20,000 starter homes for people under the age of 40 in England was welcomed. However we’d like to see measures announced in the Autumn Statement which outline how the timely delivery of these homes will be enforced.”

3.    “We’d also like to see bold measures to address the housing affordability crisis in London and the South East. Such measures could include removing CIL and affordable housing contributions from private schemes, replacing them with a strategic housing development policy and removing certain restrictions on parts of Green Belt.”

Toby Greville, Director, Residential, Colliers International:
4.    “It would be great to see some recognition from The Chancellor that the higher stamp duty levels introduced earlier this year are impacting on mobility, restricting sales and, at the upper end of the market, actually raising less tax than before.  Best case scenario; Osborne announces a complete overhaul of the “step-based” system to create a fairer system that avoids skewing the market.”

Mark Charlton, Head of UK Research, Colliers International

5.    “The Government needs to provide the Valuation Office Agency with a clear target that will ensure all appeals are resolved by the time the 2017 Rating List goes live. The VOA has now amassed a record 255,000 outstanding rating appeals, which in part was caused by the cut off in appeals announced in last year’s Autumn Statement. It is unacceptable for businesses to wait years for the resolution of appeals whilst also being subject to huge business rates over payments.”

John Webber, Head of Rating, Colliers International

What will we probably see?

  • The pace of austerity will be eased to address House of Lords concerns over tax credit reform, but will probably also be accompanied by an announcement of increased funding for government investment linked to promoting the newly created National Infrastructure Commission. The energy sector is a likely target given recent headlines about capacity.
  • Further tax reforms will be announced that address the abuse of transfer pricing across tax regimes. In theory, this could begin to alleviate pricing pressure on retailers trading from shops who cannot compete with international internet retailers who have substantially lower cost bases, partly due to lower tax liabilities.  The Chancellor is likely to steer clear of the rates issues altogether.
  • The chancellor will no doubt offer verbiage to a tweaking of the housing plans which are already in motion; Right to Buy, Help to Buy and others including, extensions as well as a few further headline target