Autumn Budget 2018: specialist finance industry reveals wish list

Cuts to stamp duty land tax (SDLT) have been highlighted by many specialist finance experts as a key change that they would like to see from the upcoming Autumn Budget.

The 2018 Autumn Budget will take place on Monday 29th October and see the government set out its plan to build a stronger, more prosperous economy. 

This year’s announcement by chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond is set to carry extra significance as it will be the last such briefing before the UK is due to leave the European Union in March 2019. 


What measures does the specialist finance industry want from the Autumn Budget? 

Chris Gardner at Amicus Finance has urged the government to steer away from property market initiatives, as he felt the full effect of previous interventions were still playing out and distorting the market.

“The most significant threat to the market in my view is the decline in transactions numbers – factors including SDLT, affordability and equity release are collectively bringing the market to a grinding halt. 

“The chancellor has a part [to] play in the resolution of this, but it needs careful thought. 

“So, for me, no tinkering from the Treasury is my hope.”

Chris’s sentiment was echoed by Gareth Lewis, commercial director at mtf, who wanted to see the stamp duty hike on investment properties scrapped altogether. 

“However, perhaps a rethink of the hike would be more realistic. 

“The 3% addition has so far had a negative impact on transaction flow and I think a stamp duty relief would certainly help to stimulate the market.”

Chris Whitney, head of specialist lending at Enness, highlighted the government’s plans to introduce another SDLT surcharge that would apply to overseas purchases of UK property.

“Not the solution needed in my view. 

“Overall, hopefully the chancellor will recognise that in the context of Brexit the UK must look to make itself more internationally competitive, not less.”

Meanwhile, Benson Hersch, CEO at the Association of Short Term Lenders, added: “What I’d like to see is a cut in SDLT, particularly in the sub-£2m level, possibly to take into account that house prices are still very high, particularly in London.   

“In addition, there should be some way to encourage empty nesters to downsize – at the moment the costs of moving and of stamp duty are [a] disincentive.”

Jon Hall, managing director at Masthaven, said: “At the top of my Budget wish list is a softening of the tax treatment for buy-to-let landlords so that the landlord market is given a fillip, providing more confidence to those operating in the private rental sector. 

“I’d also like to see government-backed initiatives outside of Help to Buy to support more buyers on to the housing ladder. 

“Help to Buy has been a force for good in the property market, but now we need to think more creatively.”

Liz Syms, CEO at Connect for Intermediaries, said she wanted to see an appreciation for landlords who could demonstrate that they were professional and reputable.

“There is a lot of recognition for corporates and how they contribute, but not enough recognition for smaller residential landlords and the vital part they play in housing.  

“There have been multiple rules and regulations thrown at residential landlords recently which have made it a lot harder to run a profitable buy-to-let. 

“And while I understand the reasons why the government has done this, I think it is a very short-term view.”

SME support

Supporting SMEs 

Niels Turfboer, managing director at Spotcap, said it would welcome any initiatives that reduced cost burdens for SMEs and have a positive impact on sustainable growth.

“There are several interesting ideas that have been mentioned in the run up to the Budget.

"For example, the adoption allowance and reforms to the small business rate relief. 

“Of course, the Budget comes in the context of Brexit and looming uncertainty. 

“However, it’s important to remember that firms cite the domestic economy as their main barrier to growth.”

Toby Ryland, corporate tax partner at HW Fisher & Company, added: “While there is little doubt many retailers would love the chancellor to take more action in terms of providing further business rates relief, this seems unlikely. 

“Firstly, local authorities are desperately short of cash and any further reductions in what they are able to collect is likely to heap further pressure on locally delivered services.” 

Mike Cherry, national chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses, felt the Budget was a “make-or-break moment”. 

“We want to see the chancellor … reducing the cost burdens for small businesses and recommitting to ending the scourge of poor payment practice.”



“I don’t think the specialist finance market will be pleased or disappointed, as I don’t think there will be any focus on housing or lending,” said Jonathan Sealey, CEO at Hope Capital.

“There is still a profound need for more housing, but I think the government would argue there are already enough initiatives in place. 

“Plus, they are far too focused on Brexit to be able to give the property market their full attention.”

Ian Norman, partner at Lightfoots Solicitors, also wasn’t sure if there would be a great deal for those in the specialist finance sector to cheer.

“One must not, however, forget what the specialist lenders contribute to the economy in allowing borrowers to achieve their aspirations and develop their businesses using the funding they provide.  

“I would, therefore, hope to see some support for the sector to ensure that investment can be sourced from all over the world as we leave the EU and so as to ensure that access to affordable credit continues for both consumers and businesses alike.”  


  • Photo

    Martin Greenland

    Hi Tom, this is a fantastic feature. Good work.

Leave a comment