It’s good to see the government taking the housing crisis seriously with the final quarter of the speech devoted to this one subject, an impressive commitment to extra spending of £44bn over five years and the headline grabbing finale of the reduction in stamp duty. The devil though will, as always be in the detail. The lifting of HRA caps is good in principle but there are no details at all, while the £34m for skills training sounds like a drop in the ocean when we are faced with a huge likely loss of construction workers post-Brexit. Other measures announced include the review to be chaired by Oliver Letwin which may, helpfully, lay to rest the myth that land banking is a serious problem - most developers being concerned to turn over their capital as fast as possible rather than tie it up in dormant sites. Finally there is the reduction in stamp duty for first time buyers, which will undoubtedly appeal to younger voters, but the same measure would probably be much more effective, economically, as an incentive to retired people to downsize, releasing under-occupied houses into the market.
PHOTO CREDIT / Ben STANSALLBEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images