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Whilst the Chancellor’s March budget has been received with generally positive commentary, and this is certainly the case for the property market, it nonetheless leaves a number of perfectly reasonable questions, let’s explore another view:

1) The extension of the current stamp duty concessions may delay the ‘cliff edge’ of the end of March but does it do anything other than defer the same issue? I would have preferred that a ‘cut off’ applied where a sale has been agreed with a reasonable period to allow those completions. This, of course, could have been the end of March or June but would ease the mad panic to complete in either event.

2) Is the Chancellor artificially fueling house prices only for a sharp (though shallow) drop in prices when this benefit is removed? Is that in order to fuel a feel good factor and encourage spending and, if so, will the lift be a short one and could the monies have been spent more wisely?

3) Is now the time to announce huge rises in Corporation Tax? Personally I accept this is inevitable but would have preferred a staged increase starting in year 1 and rising by 1% a year up to the proposed limit in 6 years.

4) Once upon a time the freezing of personal allowances would have been considered a ‘clever’ way of disguising real tax increases but with increased understanding by the populous we are not so easily fooled. Again is this the best time to be making it clear that taxes are going up and up?

It may be a contrarian view, however this is one occasion it may have been best to ‘kick the can down the road’. Growth, inflation, and to what extent people are going to utilise the vast savings accrued during the pandemic, have never been more uncertain. I for one would have preferred a neutral budget with the pain deferred that little bit longer. Then again I am not the Chancellor!

At least we can enjoy a pint (when the pubs finally open) without added duty on your favourite tipple, cheers! ‘