The government will prioritise spending on housing and business investment as negotiations continue for the UK to leave the European Union, the chancellor Philip Hammond said in his speech at the Conservative party conference.
Investment: All structural and investment fund projects signed before the UK leaves the EU will be fully funded.
Housing: £2 billion to increase house building on publicly-owned land and £3 billion to help build new homes.
Economic policy: The chancellor will no longer target a budget surplus by 2020.
Reaction: Commenting on the chancellor’s certainty on EU funding, Adam Marshall, acting director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:
“Guaranteeing the monies for new bidders seeking EU funding is a positive move that will ensure regions and localities will continue to benefit.
“Increased house-building is near the top of our requests from the chancellor at the Autumn Statement, so it is reassuring that the government is looking at this ‘quick-win’ for infrastructure development.”
On the house building measures, Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the Confederation of British Industry, said:
“A vibrant and healthy housing market will help young people get on and move up the ladder, but also mean employees can live closer to their workplaces.
“It will be equally important to build the right kind of homes, by looking not only to homeownership but also the private rental sector and affordable housing.”
Alfie Stirling, senior economic analyst at the Institute for Public Policy Research, said:
“Tax streams from wealth should be expanded, and inefficient tax reliefs – such as those on buy-to-let mortgages, some elements of capital gains and pension contributions for high earners – should be revisited to bring in new resources.”