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Housing bosses’ anger as November Budget is axed

Sajid Javid was due to unveil a £500m plan to boost youth centres: REUTERS
Sajid Javid was due to unveil a £500m plan to boost youth centres: REUTERS

Chancellor Sajid Javid on Friday confirmed the looming Budget has been axed, triggering anger from housing bosses and estate agents who were hoping the sluggish market would get a boost from his statement.

Javid scrapped the November 6 Budget after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would push for a general election in December.

The housing industry, which has been grappling with weaker demand and lower pricing amid political and economic uncertainty, had been hoping the planned post-Brexit statement would give updates on any new incentives to help homebuyers.

Jason Honeyman, boss of FTSE 250 builder Bellway, told the Standard: “The scheduled Budget could have been an opportunity to update on stamp duty reforms. Some buyers had been waiting for the Budget to see what changes might have come in before committing to purchases.”

London estate agent Stone Real Estate’s Michael Stone said: “Intentions to stimulate the sector that the Budget may have featured could have given weak market sentiment a badly needed boost.”

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the forecasting group EY Item Club, said the delay “adds to the uncertainties facing the housing market as some buyers may hold off waiting to see if stamp duty is cut, or other measures affecting the sector are introduced”.

Ian Springett, chief executive at AIM-listed online property website OnTheMarket, said: “It seems nothing tangible for the residential industry will be done whilst the Brexit debate continues.”

Trevor Abrahmsohn, managing director of north London estate agent Glentree International, urged the government not to neglect the sector. He said: “In the post-Brexit area, UK growth needs as many stimulants as it can get. The housing market historically has been a major factor in helping to drive the consumer lead economy.”

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