Autumn Statement 2014
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has today provided his autumn financial statement to the House of Commons.
- The Autumn Statement announces that the government will reform Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on residential property with immediate effect. From 4 December 2014, SDLT rates will only apply to the part of the property price that falls within each band, similar to the structure of Income Tax.
- The Autumn Statement announces that the government will seek a further £10 billion of efficiency savings by 2017-18.
- Autumn Statement 2014 introduces a new offer of income contingent loans for those under 30 years old wishing to undertake a postgraduate taught masters in any subject.
Local Government Headlines
To give more power to local areas, the government will allocate a further £1 billion from the £12 billion Local Growth Fund announced in Spending Round 2013 for a second wave of Growth Deals. This will allow LEPs to bid for support for local projects as part of their ambitious plans for growth. The government will look to extend the Enterprise Zone in Nottingham to a site in Derby, and consider the case for further extensions to existing Enterprise Zones at the Budget, subject to value for money and affordability. The government will also discuss plans for a Growth Zone in Croydon.
The government will work with local authorities and businesses on a simplification programme for the local licensing regime on small business , with an expectation that, by 2018, every local authority will offer a single online application process where businesses only need register their details once.
The government, with Transport for the North, will produce a comprehensive transport strategy for the North. This will include options, costs and a delivery timetable for a HS3 east west rail connection, with an interim report in March 2015.
The government intends to set up a long-term investment fund from tax revenues from shale for the North and other areas hosting shale gas developments.
The government has committed £15 billion to improve the national road network.
The government is investing £2.3 billion in over 1,400 flood defence schemes over the next 6 years. These will ensure that at least 300,000 homes are better protected by 2021. To further encourage private sector investment in the flood defence programme, the government will legislate to ensure that business contributions to flood defence schemes are tax deductible.
The government will invest £5.9 billion into the UK’s research infrastructure over 2016-21, which will include a £2.9 billion Grand Challenges fund that will enable the UK to invest in major research facilities of national significance. This strategy commits £0.8 billion to major new research facilities and projects including:
• £235 million in the advanced materials Sir Henry Royce Institute
• £113 million in big data at Hartree, Daresbury
• £95 million to take the lead in the next European mission to Mars
• £31 million in new energy security and innovation centres
• £60 million to extend the capabilities of the National Nuclear Users Facility
• £20 million for an innovation centre on ageing, in Newcastle
The Autumn Statement announces an increased ambition for public sector land and commits to releasing enough land for up to 150,000 homes between 2015 and 2020.
Principal heads of terms have been agreed between Barking Riverside Limited, the Mayor of London and government for a loan of £55 million to support the extension of the London Overground to Barking Riverside to unlock the delivery of 11,000 homes.
The government is taking forward the commitment to build the first new garden city for almost 100 years at Ebbsfleet. The government will make the first £100 million available to fund infrastructure and land remediation to kick start development, subject to due diligence.
The government is investing £141 million in order to support the London Legacy Development Corporation and Mayor of London’s Olympicopolis project to redevelop the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The Autumn Statement confirms that Grahame Park, Blackwall Reach, Aylesbury Estate and New Union Wharf regeneration projects have all now been approved for funding under the £150 million estates regeneration fund announced at Budget 2014, subject to due diligence and contract negotiations.
The government will release public sector land with capacity for up to 150,000 homes between 2015 and 2020. The government will also support Bicester to provide up to 13,000 new homes subject to value for money.
To stimulate further investment in shared ownership, the government will extend the scope of
- Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) multiple dwellings relief so that “lease and leaseback”
- arrangements with housing associations on shared ownership properties also attract
- the relief.
- The Autumn Statement announces an increased ambition for public sector land and
- commits to releasing enough land for up to 150,000 homes between 2015 and 2020.
The government plans to ensure that the principle of development need only be established once, to give greater certainty and allow locally-supported development to proceed more quickly. Relevant actions include:
- taking steps to speed up section 106 negotiations, including revising guidance, consulting on a faster process for reaching agreement, considering how timescales for agreement could be introduced, and improving transparency on the use of section 106 funds.
- keeping the speed of decisions on major applications under review, with the minimum performance threshold increasing to 50% of major decisions on time as performance continues to improve.
- publishing new data on local authorities’ performance in meeting their statutory duty to process smaller planning applications within 8 weeks.
- working with industry and local authorities to test whether more can be done to
- supporting the approval of small sites in the planning system publishing proposals for consultation at Budget 2015 on making the Compulsory Purchase Regime clearer, faster and fairer, with the aim of bringing forward more brownfield land for development.
Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive of LGiU commented:
“Today’s statement was very much a pre-election give away, with extra money for cathedrals, roads, hospices, air ambulances and motorists: all of which will prove popular as will tax cuts and an unprecedented and unexpected reform of stamp duty.
“But the Chancellor gave away power as well as money. Unlike previous residents of Number 11 Downing Street he has committed to a real devolution of power away from HM Treasury with an ‘open door’ offer for local authorities to come forward with local devolution plans.
This will be welcomed across local government, but the real challenge for George Osborne will be to ensure that devolution is not just city-centric and is also focussed on the shires and districts to which combined authority arrangements are not a natural fit.”