Peer-to-peer platforms have asked for more affordable housing, an extension to the Help to Buy scheme and a stamp duty reduction in the upcoming Budget.
The new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, will deliver his first Budget on Wednesday 11 March with spending on flood defences, improving internet connectivity in regional locations and the government’s response to the coronavirus expected to take centre stage.
However, several P2P platforms have told Peer2Peer Finance News about the key policy changes they hope Sunak will announce in Wednesday’s address.
Blend Network’s chief executive Yann Murciano said that the Budget should make P2P more accessible through local authorities and self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs) to help solve the housing crisis.
“The UK’s housing shortage is a high-profile issue, with the 300,000 houses that need to be built annually by the mid-2020s – 100,000 of which need to be affordable – being a commonly cited figure in current debate.
“What is less discussed, however, is how the government should actually solve this problem.
“Boris Johnson’s drive to make housing a priority is welcome news, but his policies focus on traditional funding methods, ignoring new, innovative sources of funding such as P2P lending.
“With the number of houses needed being so high, all avenues should be explored.
“As such, we would like to see four measures in this week’s Budget: tax breaks for private investors who fund new builds, encouraging SIPP operators to consider including P2P loans in their portfolio; allowing local authorities to deploy funding through alternative lending platforms and educating property developers.”
Mike Bristow, co-founder and chief executive of CrowdProperty, said that an extension of the Help to Buy scheme and a cut in stamp duty would benefit property-backed P2P platforms.
“I think the things that need to be considered are whether there will be further extension or a replacement scheme for Help to Buy and I think stamp duty will always be an issue,” he said.
“It’s something that’s impossible to get right or perfect and I think that can definitely be revisited.
“The issue that the big stamp duty changes have created is that they have definitely contributed to lower transaction volumes in them markets and as a result this means the tax take from the government has gone down.
“Good transaction volumes shows liquidity in the market and Help to Buy is a good scheme that helps liquidity in the market.
“Liquidity in the property market is good for people backing property projects, for example, platforms like ourselves.”
Nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of small business owners said that a reduction to business rates would improve their ability to deliver on their business ambitions, according to research from Nucleus Commercial Finance.
This was reiterated by Brian Bartaby, founder and chief executive of Proplend, who said that he was looking for commitment from the Chancellor for a meaningful revision of business rates.
The Nucleus survey also found that 74 per cent of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) want the government to do more to tackle late payments.
“Business rates remain at the top of the agenda for SMEs, and it’s clear from our research that the majority of owners believe the system is in need of urgent reform in order to create a level playing field where they can compete with online retailers,” said Chirag Shah, chief executive, Nucleus Commercial Finance.
“After nearly four years of uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the upcoming Budget is key for the newly-appointed Chancellor to address the concerns of SMEs and deliver on the government’s promise to provide increased support.
“We hope the government uses this opportunity to provide business owners with the confidence they need to help Britain’s SMEs thrive and create a stronger economic environment.”