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HBF Briefing - Budget 2012

Date: 21/03/12

HBF Briefing - Budget 2012

There are three issues of particular interest to home builders in today’s Budget (please click here to view the budget in full):

  • Planning and NPPF
  • SDLT changes;
  • Get Britain Building fund;


The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) will be published next Tuesday (27th March). In his Budget statement, the Chancellor said:

 “Next week my Right Hon Friend the Communities Secretary and the Planning Minister will publish the results of our overhaul of planning regulation. We’re replacing 1000 pages of guidance with just 50 pages. We’re introducing a presumption in favour of sustainable development. While protecting our most precious environments. The new policy comes into effect when the National Planning Policy Framework is published next Tuesday. This is the biggest reduction in business red tape ever undertaken.” 

On Planning, the Red Book states:

1.234 The Government is reforming the planning system so that it supports growth. The Government will publish the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) by the end of March 2012, coming into force for plan-making and decisions from that point onwards, with appropriate implementation arrangements for local authorities with pro-growth policies in local plans. There will be support to help local authorities get plans up to date quickly.

1.235 The NPPF will refocus planning policy to better support growth, will include a powerful presumption in favour of sustainable development to underpin all local plans and decisions, and will localise choice about the use of previously developed land, ending nationally imposed targets. The Government will also work with key statutory consultees to ensure that they support the delivery of sustainable development in line with the NPPF and are held to account for doing so.

1.236 In addition, the Government: will introduce further measures to deregulate and simplify the planning system. The Government will shortly consult on reducing information requirements and on proposals to amend the Use Class Order and the associated permitted development rights to make changing the use of buildings easier, for implementation by April 2013. In addition, new permitted development rights for micro-renewable energy installations will come into force in April 2012; 


The Red Book states:

2.173 Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) rates – The Government will introduce a new SDLT rate of 7 per cent for residential properties over £2 million. The new rate will apply from 22 March 2012. (Finance Bill 2012) 

2.174 Enveloping of high value residential properties – The Government will apply a 15 per cent rate of SDLT to residential properties over £2 million purchased by certain non-natural persons. The 15 per cent rate will take effect from 21 March 2012. In addition the Government will consult on the introduction of an annual charge on residential properties valued over £2 million owned by certain non-natural persons with the intention of introducing legislation next year and the measure coming into effect in April 2013. (Finance Bill 2012 for rate; Finance Bill 2013 for annual charge) 

At present, land acquisitions for housing development are taxed at the 4% SDLT rate. However the broad definition of residential property in S116 (1) (a) of the Finance Act 2003 can also catch developers that purchase property via:

  • The purchase of a garden of a dwelling;
  • The purchase of property where residential development has already begun;
  • The purchase of a dwelling for re-development whether via renovation or demolition followed by re-development.

In these cases, at present the transaction would be hit by 5% SDLT if valued at over £1m. Our concern with today’s changes is that they could mean land transactions meeting the above definition would be liable to 7% SDLT if valued at over £2m, and potentially they may be liable for the 15% SDLT rate. This could be very damaging for development viability.

The HMRC SDLT explanation is at, pages A105 to A109. In relation to the 15% rate, it says “There are exclusions from the charge for property developers”. 

HBF is seeking urgent clarification from HM Treasury and will advise members as soon as we have more information.


The Budget repeats the Government’s announcement on 19th March that the GBB fund has been increased from the original £420m to £570m, lifting the number of dwellings from 12,000 to 15,000. The shortlist was released on 19th March.

John Stewart & Michael Powell  

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