Our take on Budget 2021

By Chris Seeley · 28 October 2021

We waited in anticipation to hear the budget and understand some of the detail from the Chancellor. Announcements made before the speech included £1.8b for 160K homes on brownfield land, £9m for pocket parks for councils, as well as decarbonisation funds.

The pre-budget announcement seemed to be missing the urgent need to fund cladding repair and replacement issues, building safety and funding to secure the gains made from the “everyone in” homelessness programme.

We were also keen to understand how the removal of the Universal Credit uplift might be addressed and how the Chancellor might respond to ongoing concerns regarding the increasing cost of living outstripping the predicted benefits in increases in the national living wage. We waited for the Chancellor to pull something out of the bag.

The chancellor started his speech on a very positive note, saying, “Employment is up, investment is growing, public services are improving, public finances are stabilising and wages are rising.” In his fiscal obligations the Chancellor mentioned putting welfare spending on a sustainable path for a stronger economy for the people. An interesting sentence with nothing we can see to say how this will be achieved.

Responding to one of our earlier queries, (although to be fair, not responding directly to ARK) the Chancellor says £5bn will be made available to remove unsafe cladding from the highest risk buildings, which he says will be partly funded by the Residential Property Developers Tax. The developers’ tax is stated as being levied on developers with profits over £25m at a rate of 4%.

The widely trailed national living wage rise was confirmed at £9.50 from April 2022. The Chancellor announced changes for Universal Credit to cut the Taper Rates for working more hours together with an increased tax allowance £500 introduced no later than 1 December. This should help recover some of the losses from the £20 per week reduction. We are not yet sure of the balance.

It was rather disappointing that the longest and seemingly most detailed announcement, lasting what seemed an age but was 10 minutes of the speech, related to changes in alcohol tax.

As described above there are some potentially welcome points relating to changes in the Universal Credit Taper and commitments to rough sleeping initiatives. Previous announcements relating to brownfield land and the £5bn allocated to removal of unsafe cladding is welcome. As were previous announcements relating to spending on affordable housing over the longer term. It seems a shame that housing just didn’t get the same focus as alcohol sales.

 

News & Insights

Read the latest housing sector news, blogs, and commentary from ARK.

View more

Happy older woman on a sofa, symbolising comfort and contentment in well-regenerated housing for older people.

Will Supported Housing Take Centre Stage in the General Election?

By Nick Sedgwick ·

The Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Act came into force in August last year. However, we have been waiting for the …

SHDF Wave 3. Luke Beard's view.

Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) Wave 3

By Luke Beard ·

Here are my big takeaways from the draft guidance: 1. Delivery Timescales – since the start of the SHDF rounds, …

ARK Directors Paul O'Callaghan and Nick Sedgwick on the Tenancy Standard

The RSH Tenancy Standard

By Paul O’Callaghan ·

We’re excited to share a series of insightful conversations on the new Regulator of Social Housing Consumer Standards, which came …

Subscribe

Subscribe to our newsletters for the latest industry insights

Our newsletters and reports will keep you updated on topical issues from the sector as well as what’s happening at ARK.

Subscribe today