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The Budget – implications for councils with housing 19/03/2015

ARCH Briefing 5/2015


Issued by: 

Chancellor of the Exchequer



18 March 2015


Key points


  • 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 prices. 


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".


Help-to-Buy ISAs

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.


Housing Zones

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. 


ARCH comment


A detailed ARCH briefing on Housing Zones will be published separately.

Link to Budget documents


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