Good morning and welcome to week 7 of our blog! No tricks this week, only treats (there’s a loose Halloween reference good and early for you 😊). Read on to see all you need to know about Monday’s forthcoming budget announcement, advice on low cost home ownership, news from HQ where we have had a fantastic month for helping clients, and thoughts on the specialist buy to let market from our friends at Foundation Home Loans. Enjoy!
Budget 2018: Everything you need to know – Source: BBC News
What a way to start the week - settling down to watch one of the major events of the year that affects your finances.
In his speech, the chancellor will announce the government's plans for tax and spending for the financial year which starts in April 2019.
Here is your essential guide.
When is the Budget?
It is on Monday, 29 October, at about 15:30 GMT.
Three aspects of the timing are relatively unusual.
Firstly, it is earlier in the year than usual to avoid clashing with the final stage of Brexit negotiations in November.
Secondly, the Budget is being presented on a Monday, normally it is revealed on a Wednesday after Prime Minister's Questions. This year that would mean it would fall on Halloween - a gift to headline writers - although the government denies that was a factor in choosing the day.
Thirdly, the Chancellor will start his speech at about 15:30 GMT, three hours later than usual. That's because Parliamentary business starts later on a Monday because MPs have to travel to London from their constituencies.
The speech usually lasts about an hour, although the longest continuous Budget speech was by William Gladstone in 1853, lasting four hours and 45 minutes.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn then gets the first response, before MPs debate the Budget.
Who is the Chancellor, Philip Hammond?
Arguably, the second most powerful person in government, behind the Prime Minister.
He was appointed as chancellor - known in many countries as the finance minister - in July 2016.
Mr Hammond entered Parliament at the relatively late age of 41 as a millionaire. He has been the Conservative MP for Runnymede and Weybridge since 1997.
He has been dubbed "Spreadsheet Phil" owing to his love of numbers, including running over finances while on the beach on holiday.
Is this the only Budget that matters?
No. Many powers, as well as some tax issues, are devolved to the nations of the UK. Expect more on those in the coming weeks.
One big announcement will be the Scottish government's intentions on income tax levels, to be outlined at its Budget on 12 December.
What are the big themes?
The Budget comes hot on the heels of the Conservative Party conference, during which Prime Minister Theresa May claimed that austerity is coming to an end.
"The British people need to know that the end is in sight," she said.
That could be rather restrictive for Mr Hammond, who needs to raise extra money somehow.
The government has committed to finding an extra £20bn for the NHS by 2023. Ministers have indicated it will be partly funded by tax rises, so all eyes are on the chancellor for a solution.
Mrs May also said that the borrowing cap for local councils wanting to build new homes will be scrapped, potentially adding to the national debt.
... and Brexit?
Of course. This is the final Budget when the UK is part of the European Union, so how the economy is prepared for the UK's exit will clearly be a significant, and closely watched, part of the speech.
Arguably, the nature of any deal struck with the EU - or the failure to reach any kind of deal - would have a much bigger impact on the nation's finances than anything Mr Hammond says in the Budget.
Will I be paying more for a pint?
The Chancellor sets the so-called "sin taxes" on cigarettes and booze.
So, at the end of Budget day, any change in these duties will come into effect and is likely to have an immediate impact on prices.
The Chancellor has special permission to drink alcohol during the speech, although the last one to do so was Kenneth Clarke, who had a whisky.
What about driving costs?
In her party conference speech, Mrs May scotched speculation that fuel duty could go up for the first time in nearly a decade, saying she was extending the duty freeze for a ninth year in a row, a move costing the Exchequer £800m.
That said, petrol prices are relatively high, so drivers are already feeling the pinch.
How will pay and benefits be affected?
There is some speculation that the level of income at which workers pay income tax could be frozen, despite a Conservative pledge at the 2017 election that the thresholds would rise to £12,500 by 2020. The starting point for the higher rate of tax was also pledged to rise to £50,000 by 2020.
Many working-age benefits are nearly three years through a four-year freeze. These include Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, some types of Housing Benefit, and Child Benefit.
The cap on public sector pay rises in England and Wales has been in place in some form since 2010, although there is now some flexibility in pay awards for public servants. The cap has effectively been lifted, with more significant pay rises for police, NHS workers and others. However, these increases have needed to come from departmental budgets so a squeeze on funding still exists.
The real detail on all of these plans, and how much they will cost or save, is in the Budget red book - a fat document published as soon as the chancellor has sat down after his speech.
When is the next Budget?
At about the same time next year.
If you cannot wait that long, then there is the spring statement, usually in late February or early March, which updates the state of the nation's finances.
There is always the chance of a mini-Budget, or a major financial statement of some kind, if and when a Brexit deal is announced.
We are proud to have joined forces with Greensquare Homes in Wiltshire to provide advice to their clients for shared ownership schemes across the south and west of England. Shared ownership is a fantastic way to get on the property ladder if you are a first time buyer, or if you are looking to upsize your current home, but are struggling to get a deposit together or your income doesn’t quite reach the heady heights of buying a home at 100% of the value in the area you want to live.
Simply put, you own a share of the house, between 25% and 80%, and pay rent on the amount you don’t own. You therefore only need a 5% deposit for the share of the house you are buying, and only raise a mortgage for the part you own. Often, this means you can buy a two or three bed home for you and your family for a fraction of the cost, and instead of compromising on area and style of home because of your budget, you are able to get the perfect property in the perfect area for you.
Shared ownership schemes are generally available on new build sites in your area, and the quality of the build and the home is not compromised at all. Greensquare Homes houses on the developments we are helping with are of fantastic quality, and should be viewed immediately as they are being reserved eagerly by buyers in the Swindon area. To get going, get registered on your relevant Help to Buy waiting list, speak to us to get your finances in order, and if you have 5% of the share price ready to go, you could be a homeowner in a matter of weeks!
For more information, contact us!
The forthcoming week sees some scary sights and a familiar pumpkin coloured hue to the corridors of Foursquare HQ fitting right in as the Halloween festivities gather momentum and the autumn well and truly kicks in.
Amongst all of the fun and celebrations, October, we are pleased to report, has been our busiest month in business, with 14 new mortgage applications going in, and the busiest month we have had for seeing new customers, with over 20 new enquiries being actively dealt with going in to November. A massive thank you to our introducers and clients who have sent people our way! It’s good to see the housing market in good order, and in the main, most people taking the advice of last weeks blog and making strides despite some of the press doom mongering.
This week, despite a certain director of our company spending some much needed relaxation on a beach somewhere warmer than here (no names mentioned Mr C….), we are all geared up for helping even more people buy, remortgage or protect their homes.
Don’t forget to put your clocks BACK on Saturday night!
From Our Network – Sarah Hopkins, Foundation Home Loans for Intermediaries
Happy Friday one and all!
A lot of you may not have heard of us at Foundation Home Loans. Let me start by telling you a little bit about us. We are an intermediary only lender, and you can access us via Pete and James at Foursquare. We started lending in 2015, and we are primarily a specialist BTL lender. We launched into the residential market last year too, which caters for ‘mainstream misses’ – allowing us to reach out and help applicants who wouldn’t perhaps credit score well enough to be accepted by a mainstream lender.
We specialise in a number of BTL areas – from Portfolio Landlords to First Time Landlords, as well as HMOs and Multi-Unit Blocks, and we cater for both individual applicants and those applying as a Limited Company.
Today, however, I want to talk to you about our newest offering, and something that is really relevant to the market – Short-Term Lets.
Short-Term Lets are here for the long-haul. Our Commercial Director, Andrew Ferguson, has gone on record to say; “Considering the growing trend for Airbnb type offerings, our new short-term let product will provide landlords with increased flexibility” and he is bang-on the money – this is very much a growing yet under-served area in the market, as more landlords look to diversify their portfolios, including holiday letting and Airbnb contracts.
This proposition has been designed with complete simplicity in mind:
* No requirement for an AST
* Normal BTL criteria applies
* Standard rental figure used in rental assessment
* No first time landlords
* No HMOs
* No Multi-Unit Blocks
* The property must meet our standard property criteria.
Is this something that appeals to you? Would you like to make an enquiry to find out more? Speak to Pete and James and they can head the enquiry our way - we would love to help you find a solution!
More from us next week! Happy Halloween 😊