Rishi Sunak might have only been in the job for a month, but the Chancellor didn’t hold back when delivering one of the most ambitious and transformative Budgets for a generation.
What impact will the Budget have for the property market?
The most obvious step taken towards protecting the High Street in a time fraught with uncertainty over the public’s reaction to COVID-19 is the suspension of Business Rates for retail and leisure occupiers with Rateable Values of £51,000 or less. Whilst many have been clamouring for wholesale reform of the Business Rates system, this should act as a crutch to support struggling businesses until such time as the whole system can be reviewed. It is hoped that the potential savings, which can in some instances account for costs equating to an additional 50% of annual rent, will take some financial pressure off retailers who might be struggling in times where online shopping is becoming more and more prevalent, whilst stimulating growth by encouraging startups and leisure occupiers to expand or put down roots in high street locations.
The promise of further investment into roads, the rail network and affordable housing is also welcome, and it is hoped that this will provide a boost to housebuilders who employ thousands across the country whose share prices have dropped following a prolonged period of political uncertainty.
As a country that is home to a large number of entrepreneurs, start up businesses and SMEs, the financial support promised by the Government to deal with business continuity disruption caused by COVID-19 should hopefully support these organisations and individuals who do not have the resources (both financial and personnel) to deal with self isolation in large numbers.
Overall, the reaction to the Conservatives’ first Budget since the General Election seems to be one of cautious optimism and surprise at the proposed shift from austerity to increased borrowing. Only time will tell if it is going to be successful.
One thing is crystal clear, in these times we need to continue to support each other more than ever and in the meantime, we are delighted to welcome a number of clients onto our platform in the past few weeks. We are excited to share with you new and varied commercial spaces in the coming days. Watch this space!