Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng due to speak later this morning

Later this morning chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng will deliver a mini-budget in the first fiscal event under the Liz Truss government.

The chancellor is expected to outline a number of deregulatory and tax-cutting measures as Truss eyes moves to boost growth through construction.

Below are some of the unconfirmed policies trailed this week that Kwarteng could announce.


Kwasi Kwarteng was appointed chancellor earlier this month

Relaxed planning rules in new ‘investment zones’

It is widely expected that the mini-budget will reveal details of Truss’ ‘investment zone’ plan, which the prime minister first talked about in the summer.

Kwarteng is likely to announce the government is in talks with 38 local authorities about creating investment zones, which would see planning regulations relaxed in order to boost growth.

It is likely to include reforms to environmental regulation and streamlined local and national planning policies.

It is expected height restrictions and other rules could be eased, although in the summer Truss’ team was reportedly insisting no building safety restrictions will be watered down.

It is also understood that under the proposals, councils would not have to negotiate with developers over levels of affordable housing, with a fixed percentage of affordable homes required instead.

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Kwarteng is expected to say: “The time it takes to get consent for nationally significant projects is getting slower, not quicker, while our international competitors forge ahead.

“We have to end this. To support growth right across the country, we need to go further, with targeted action in local areas.

“We will liberalise planning rules in specified agreed sites, releasing land and accelerating development. And we will cut taxes, with businesses in designated sites enjoying the benefit of generous tax reliefs.”

In the summer, it was reported that the zones will have areas focused on commercial, residential or industrial development and a streamlined residential planning process on the periphery.

Lower stamp duty

Stamp duty rates are expected to be lowered as part of Truss’ package of tax cuts to stimulate the economy. Housebuilders’ share prices spiked following reports of the cut earlier this week.

It is not yet clear exactly what form the cut will take. The government temporarily removed stamp duty on properties on properties under £500,000 during the pandemic. This was in place for a year until 30 June last year and the threshold was then cut further to £250,000 until 30 September.

It had originally been expected to finish in March 2021, and there was a significant spike in house sales in both March ahead of the expected deadline and in June ahead of the cut from £500,000 to £250,000.

Tim Bannister, director of data services at Rightmove, said: “The impact on supply, demand and ultimately prices will depend on the detail, including if it will it extend to second-home buyers and investors.”

Louise Hutchins, head of policy and public affairs at the UK Green Building Council, said any stamp duty cuts should be linked to “to home improvements that reduce costly energy waste and encourage the homeowners to reduce their dependence on oil and gas”. 

Stamp duty at-a-glance

  • The average stamp duty that a home-mover (not a first-time buyer) pays is currently £8,258 (based on the average asking price of £365,173)
  • 7% of homes on the market are currently exempt from stamp duty for all home-movers (excluding second homes, anything £125,000 or below)
  • 45% of homes on the market are currently exempt from stamp duty for first-time buyers (anything £300,000 or below)
  • The percentage of properties that are on the market by the current different stamp duty bands are as follows:
  • £125,000 and below – 7% of properties
  • £125,001 to £250,000 – 26% of properties
  • £250,001 to £925,000 – 60% of properties
  • £925,000 - £1.5m – 5% of properties
  • Anything above £1.5m – 2% of properties
  • If the stamp duty cut was on all properties up to £500,000, it would mean 74% of properties in England would be exempt from stamp duty
  • Since the last stamp duty holiday was announced in July 2020, national prices have risen by 15%

Source: Rightmove