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Autumn Statement Reaction
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Paul Woodward, Finance Director for AJC Group, said: “It was encouraging to hear Jeremy Hunt start his Autumn Statement speech with a promise to prioritise stability, growth, and public service. The 7% rent cap for the social rent sector will hopefully not stifle growth at a critical point for this sector.

“First time buyer properties will now only be Stamp Duty exempt up to £425,000 until 2025. This is disappointing, as we have already seen signs that this recently introduced measure is helping hard-working people to get a foothold on the ladder.

“With the Energy Price Guarantee rising to £3,000 for the average household from April, there should be a huge focus on delivering highly energy efficient new homes and retrofitting existing housing stock. However, the UK’s broken planning system – and the prolonged debacle to determine phosphates, nitrates and nutrient neutrality – means a green light for new development is few and far between.

“For developers such as us who do have live sites, the cost of delivering much-needed EPC-A and B rated homes has sky-rocketed. We are currently delivering 230 affordable, open market, and build-to-rent homes at seven sites across the Wessex region. The cost of labour, materials, plant, and machinery is incomparable to the original budget forecasts. We are very aware of how much this uncertainty is slowing down housebuilding across the country.

“The newly announced tax increases in real terms for workers and businesses will further hinder growth. For the foreseeable future, we will continue to pay all AJC Group employees a £200 per month cost of living bonus, to help meet the rising cost burden every household is currently facing.

“In the wake of such an eventful geo-political climate and a cost-of-living crisis, we very much hope 2023 will deliver some economic stability, so that the UK can climb out of recession. The affordable and private sector housing industry needs the confidence to progress with investment decisions and continue to strive towards delivering the 300,000 new homes per annum that the UK desperately needs.”

Posted on: 17th November 2022
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