On the 22 November the Chancellor Philip Hammond will take the wraps off his first budget since the snap general election back in June. While these budgets are traditionally seen as the time we’re forced to take our rather unsavoury medicine, the current economic climate, with Brexit, muted growth, rising interest rates and confidence in the UK housing market at its lowest level in five years, could mean the Chancellor will seek to limit any unfavourable surprises.

What we do know is that this is budget is likely to be a first-time buyer-friendly occasion. Speculation is rife on a change to stamp duty and the Chancellor is expected to reiterate the government’s party conference commitment to a further £10 billion investment in the Help to Buy Equity scheme. So, ahead of the budget, we asked our partners, key players in the industry and some of the most influential voices from across the mortgage and personal finance world to make their predictions and give us their wish list for what they’d like Mr Hammond to announce on on the 22 November.

Click on a logo below to read their prediction:

Mortgage Club
Goto Group Logo

Legal & General Mortgage Club / Jeremy Duncombe

"With the Autumn Budget nearing, below is what I hope to see introduced to move this country towards a house-building revolution. 

"Supply first, demand second: The additional £10 billion pledged by the Government for Help to Buy will benefit many, but it will not fully address the more concerning side of the issue, supply. A sharp increase in annual house price inflation has been an unwanted side effect and the Government needs to inject funding, across all types of tenure, to build 250,000 new homes a year to keep up.

"Support for local building developers and a relaxation on building restrictions: Affordable housing offers little incentive for developers if they are not given enough funding or reassurance by the Government. Help to Buy has only been guaranteed until 2021, and we expect to see an extension announced in the Budget. Coupled with more funding for local developers and a relaxation of some planning rules, all parties would benefit from greater certainty and it would incentivise more building programmes to be started.

"Modernising green belt legislation: It makes no sense for derelict and unused green belt land to remain untouched when not enough homes are being built. The major parties pledged to protect green belt land during the General Election. That doesn’t mean concreting over the countryside but using available land as constructively as possible.

"Scrapping of stamp duty: For many, Stamp Duty is acting as a roadblock. An exemption for some would help stimulate the housing market for new buyers, whilst allowing older homeowners to downsize and free up thousands of existing properties. If we can incentivise people to move by removing some of these financial barriers, we can address some of the bottlenecks choking up the housing market.

"If we are to see real change, the Chancellor must use the Autumn Budget to announce radical new housing reforms. If we continue to leave this issue unaddressed the problems with our broken housing market will only become worse."

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TaxAssist Accountants / Jo Nockels

"The Chancellor has very little room to move and will likely be keen to hold a steady ship. We know from recent years, that there are rarely unfunded giveaways, meaning any tax breaks will almost certainly be offset by a tax grab elsewhere.

"The Tax Lock prevents him from raising the rates of Class 1 National Insurance paid in employment situations, VAT and Income Tax for the duration of Parliament. But his U-turn on increasing National Insurance for the self-employed in the Spring Budget, left a big hole in the books so we could see him attempt to revisit this unpopular policy.

"A number of reports have just been issued which may influence what the Chancellor announces. Firstly, the Office of Tax Simplification has just published its review of VAT in which it made 23 recommendations; including a dramatic cut to the registration threshold. The report uses £26,000 as an example (currently the VAT registration threshold is £85,000), and trade bodies and tax advisers have been quick to raise their concerns about the impact on small businesses and their cashflow.

"The Taylor Report considered the new ways people are working, such as the so-called 'gig economy' and contractors, and how their rights and responsibilities can be made fairer. One of the suggestions within the report was auto enrolment into pension schemes for the self-employed, administered through the existing Self-Assessment process for tax returns. Whilst such a change would, of course, have long term benefits, it would divert precious funds away from business growth."

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Mouthy Money / Michael Taggart

"Our readers are young adults who have been excluded from the property ladder, ripped off by utilities companies and given little opportunity to invest or save. They are disillusioned and disenfranchised after years of falling wages, low interest rates and rising rents.

"This has led to a huge distrust of traditional financial institutions, like banks, and a rising interest in the emerging fintech companies that are poised to provide basic services that the banks have monopolised for years.

"Apps like Dabbl help young adults, who are usually not well-heeled, to save and invest. Services like Bean make it easy for them to manage their direct debits and subscriptions. And there are dozens more start-ups that are opening up financial services to consumers.

"We'd like to see the Chancellor announce a significant innovation fund specifically for fintech start-ups that could vastly accelerate the growth of these businesses, redressing the culture of exclusion that has dogged our economy."

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GOTO Group / Nigel Hoath

"It's imperative that the Chancellor addresses Stamp Duty in this budget, because while it's been a nice little earner for them, he's got to be careful of crippling the housing market altogether and massively impacting social mobility. We have a stagnant market with entry level home buyers purchasing new build or surplus buy-to-let properties. One-house chains aren't going to start a movement; we need something bigger. There are a number of things he could do, starting with the obvious reduction in Stamp Duty and waiving it altogether for first time buyers. The government has been too greedy with the high end of the market on properties over £1million, and this is having a real knock-on effect. The Chancellor could also reduce duty for older homeowners, allowing them to downsize and freeing-up their properties for younger families. It's just an idea - but something has to give. Even getting buyers and sellers to share Stamp Duty costs would help. But maybe it needs a real shake-up, like moving the liability of paying duty from buyers to sellers. So you'd get more first-timers in the market who can actually afford to buy. More chains higher up and more stimulus in the market overall, full stop. The Chancellor can make a very real difference to all generations by reviewing this deeply unpopular tax."

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Upad / James Davis

"The needs of those involved in lettings remain largely as they've been for the past year or so. Clarity on the proposed ban of letting agent fees payable by tenants is vital. Having been first announced a year ago, there has been much debate on this topic both within the industry and in the smoke-filled corridors of Westminster. There was even a consultation period between April and June, yet there is still no confirmed date for its implementation and whilst April 2018 has been mooted, the industry requires this to be firmed up as soon as possible. A U-turn on the scrapping of mortgage interest relief would also be widely welcomed by all. However, accepting that is probably quite unlikely, any good news that would ease some of the pressure on landlords' finances would be well received. Of course, the state of the UK's rental housing stock and the need to improve conditions for tenants continues to be a hot topic. In my mind, the introduction of incentives that would enable landlords to renovate and refurbish some of this stock would be a shrewd move by the Chancellor, whether that be via tax breaks or removal of VAT on building works."

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Debt Camel / Sara Williams

"I'm hoping the pre-budget rumours of a U-turn on Universal Credit waiting times are true! I would also like to see Universal Credit changed for the self-employed – old benefits were assessed on their yearly income, now in Universal Credit they will find their benefits chopped in good months but they won’t make up for this in bad months.

"I would like to see a move to equalise tax relief on pension contributions. This would offer a bigger incentive to people on basic rate to save and it is this group that most needs the incentives, not higher rate taxpayers. The Chancellor won’t have much room for manoeuvre if he wants to stick to his aim of balancing the budget in the mid-2020s. I think he needs to relax that target and increase public sector pay and benefits in line with inflation.

"With the freezes currently in place millions of households are now struggling and starting to use credit to pay everyday household bills. It's not good for them, or for the economy for this to continue."

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OneSavings Bank / Adrian Moloney

"What you want or expect from a budget seldom seems to happen, so this time around I'm placing my predictions close to current political and economic realities. I'm not expecting too many upheavals for buy to let as the market still needs time to acclimatise to the onslaught of change it has experienced over the last 18 months. Instead I think the Chancellor will seek to gain lost ground in the battle for the hearts and minds of the young so I'm predicting more incentives for first time buyers in line with the government's 'intergenerational fairness' rhetoric. This could include scrapping or significantly reducing stamp duty for first time buyers and probably a further boost for the Help to Buy Scheme. I wouldn't be surprised if we see some form of a raid on pensions to fund tax breaks for the young to give them further opportunities to save for their first home, although this may be a step too far in terms of upsetting the Conservatives' core audience.

"I'll be interested to see what he does regarding housing strategy. There is still a critical shortage of housing in the UK which needs a further shot in the arm so I wouldn't be surprised if planning applications are relaxed further with added incentives for smaller house builders to compete in the market to get things moving more quickly."

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Martin Lock, Chief Executive / Silversurfers.com

"The over 50s are the largest and wealthiest demographic group in the UK and they will have seen many budgets over the years. With the recent interest rate rise many over 50s will be looking to their savings accounts to deliver a better return. They will also be wanting to ensure their pension payments are protected if they are aged over 65. Our prediction is that the Chancellor will want to maintain stability for the UK Conservative government in these difficult times, so there will not be any unforeseen surprises in this budget."

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Just Landlords / Rose Jinks

“Although scrapping the ongoing mortgage interest tax relief changes for landlords would be welcome news to property investors, we are not holding our breath that the Chancellor will give landlords that much regard. However, with the Government now very much in private tenants’ favour, it could be that it will go ahead and offer tax cuts to landlords who offer longer tenancies. This would certainly create more security in the private rental sector, which we support and encourage our landlords to consider. Giving landlords an incentive such as this is sure to help everyone in the long-term.

“A Stamp Duty holiday for first time buyers has also been discussed – again, this would be fantastic news for those stuck in the private rental sector. Do we expect Stamp Duty to be abolished altogether? No. But this would certainly free up housing and create movement in the property market, which would be good for the whole sector. The Chancellor would be in everyone’s good books if he decided to scrap the controversial tax – especially landlords, who would therefore be exempt from the notorious 3% surcharge.”

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*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of John Charcol or any John Charcol employees.

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