Yesterday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, announced the UK’s Spring Statement. Hammond reported that the UK economy is continuing to grow with wages increasing, unemployment standing at a historic low, and borrowing and debt falling. The Chancellor also confirmed that a Spending Review will be carried out by the government which will conclude alongside the Budget.
Below we’ve detailed some of the updates relating to the services we offer as a law firm.
• There are more than 3.5 million more people in work since 2010. It’s been forecasted it will increase by a further 600,000 by 2023 reaching a total of 33.2 million people in employment
• the unemployment rate of 4.0% is the lowest rate since 1975 and it should remain near historic lows over the next five years
• more money is expected in your pocket as wages are increasing at their fastest pace in over 10 years and are expected to continue to grow faster than inflation
• since 2010, there are a million fewer workless households. Every region and nation of the UK has higher employment and lower unemployment.
• Borrowing has been reduced by four-fifths since 2009-10
• debt has begun its first sustained fall in a generation
• last year debt fell and is predicted to fall continuously to 73.0% of GDP in 2023-24
• the government is focused on keeping debt falling in order to not burden the next generation. It’s taking a balanced approach, reducing borrowing and debt, while supporting public services, investing in the economy and infrastructure, and keeping taxes low.
• From 1st April 2019 apprenticeship reforms mean employers will see the co-investment rate they pay cut by a half from 10% to 5%. Levy-paying employers will be able to share more levy funds across their supply chains, with the maximum amount rising from 10% to 25%
• free sanitary products will be offered to girls in English secondary schools in order to tackle period poverty in schools
• Professor Arindajit Dube has been appointed by the government to undertake a review of the latest international evidence on the impact on minimum wages which will inform future National Living Wage policy after 2020
• the International Education Strategy will be launched by the Departments for Education and International Trade which will help to strengthen the country’s position at the forefront of global education.
• To fix the broken housing market, the government will build more homes in the right places to unlock productivity growth and make housing more affordable
• up to 37,000 homes at sites including Old Oak Common in London, the Oxford-Cambridge Arc and Cheshire will be unlocked by £717 million which will be released from the £5.5 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund
• the government will guarantee up to £3 billion of borrowing by housing associations in England to build around 30,000 affordable homes through the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme
• the government will introduce additional planning guidance to support housing diversification on large sites. Sir Oliver Letwin said that greater differentiation in the types and tenures of housing delivered on large sites would increase build out rates
• a package of reforms will be introduced which allows for greater change of use between premises and a new permitted development right to allow upwards extension of existing buildings to create new homes
• in 2025, a Future Homes Standards will be introduced which future-proofs new build homes with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency. This builds on the Prime Minister’s Industrial Strategy Grand Challenge mission to at leave halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030.
The High Street
• In the coming months, the government will publish a consultation that explores potential changes to help local areas make better use of planning tools to support their local high streets, including through Compulsory Purchase Orders, Local Development Orders, and other innovative planning measures.
• The government has published the Debt Management Report 2019-20 and NS&I Financing Remit 2019-20 which details the planned financing that will be raised by the Debt Management Office through issuing gilts and via NS&I’s retail financing products
• this year borrowing is expected to be 1.1 per cent of GDP - £3 billion lower than forecast at the Autumn Budget. It’s also forecasted to reach £13.5 billion in 2023/24, its lowest level in 22 years
• debt is forecast to be lower in every year than predicted at the Budget, falling to 82.2 per cent of GDP next year, then 79%, 74.9 per cent and 74 per cent in the following years and 73% in 2023/24.