Chancellor of the Exchequer
18 March 2015
- Public spending will continue to be cut broadly in line with
previous Government plans until 2018/19, but will increase
significantly in 2019/20.
- From the autumn, tax-exempt Help-to-Buy ISAs for first-time
buyers will attract a government contribution of £50 a month for
every £200 saved, up to a maximum of £3,000.
- A new City deal with West Yorkshire councils will replicate
most features of the Greater Manchester deal, including devolved
responsibility for housing.
- Greater Manchester and Cambridgeshire will benefit from 100% of
business rates growth above forecasts, and there is an opportunity
for other areas to strike similar deals.
- Following last month's announcement of a London Land Commission
and six Housing Zones in London, a further 20 Housing Zones
have been announced in the rest of England.
The Chancellor's final budget before the General Election was
given against the background of continuing signs of improvement in
the economy and lower inflation caused by the fall in world oil
Given continuing cuts in public spending on non-protected
services, the public deficit is expected to fall steadily over the
next 5 years and be eliminated by 2018/19. This will provide
the opportunity for an increase in public spending in 2019/20,
avoiding the charge that the Government plans, by the end of the
next Parliament, to have reduced public spending as a share of GDP
to pre Second World War levels. However, the OBR described
the outcome as a "public services rollercoaster".
Among other ISA reforms, the new Help-to-Buy ISAs will attract a
20% contribution from Government up to a maximum of £3,000.
They will be restricted to first-time buyers purchasing homes for
their own occupation up to a value of £250,000 (£450,000 in
London). The Government's contribution will be paid when the
ISAs are cashed in.
Following last month's announcement of six Housing Zones in
London, the Chancellor has announced details of 20 further Housing
Zones elsewhere in England, to deliver a planned total of 34,000
homes, with later announcements in other areas expected to raise
this total to 45,000.
A detailed ARCH briefing on Housing Zones will be published
Link to Budget documents