Search Acumen comments on the latest budget announcement

17th March 2023

Andy Sommerville, Director at Search Acumen, comments:

“In the current climate, the Government’s ambition to transform the UK into a tech super-power is absolutely the right one. All sectors will benefit from this, including property. Technology drives business efficiency and innovation, which is where growth opportunity lies in a slow economy. Tech hubs are an important part of that mix, linking up industry and academia to ensure that the UK can capitalise on its reputation for technology, thought leadership and entrepreneurism. As we know, much of this innovation comes from start-ups and SMEs, so it was an opportunity missed to not freeze corporation tax for these smaller businesses to support growth.

“For the property sector, it’s a Budget that gives with one hand and takes with the other. Investment Zones provide the potential for deregulation and simplification of the planning system, which will be attractive to developers and a potential stimulus for local economies, while tax incentives will support the occupier market in these locations. The fact that economic estimates are proving more favourable than perhaps predicted six months ago, will also be encouraging for property investors who might now anticipate a swifter recovery of asset valuations than forecast. However, increasing corporation tax for large businesses, along with the possibility that many occupiers will see big rises in their business rates bills from April, will have a negative impact, particularly on sub-sectors of the property sector and geographical regions most impacted.

“Today, we heard that because of elevated tax revenues, the Chancellor will have more financial headroom than anticipated. We would strongly urge the Government not to sit on these returns, but to reinvest to drive growth. Economic improvement through 2023 and 2024 will be hampered if we don’t invest in key services and processes that support our economy. For example, decisions around planning and processing of property transactions continue to move very slowly, which is a severe drag on economic activity and output. Investing in improving these systems and supporting local planning authorities, will undoubtedly provide a quicker and more robust economic recovery.”

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