Budget 2020: the end of austerity, just not if you want to own a home

The 2020 budget has good news for public spending, but doesn't have a concrete plan for helping people onto the property ladder

(Image credit: Getty)

What does the UK 2020 budget mean for you? Amid growing worries about the impact of Coronavirus on the UK economy, the chancellor Rishi Sunak has outlined robust measures to help contain the virus and strengthen the economy. But is there any good news for those who would like to take out a mortgage and become a homeowner?

Sunak's budget has been hailed as marking the end of a decade of austerity in the UK, with its pledges to inject much-needed funding of £5 billion into the NHS, and introduce a £12-billion fiscal package to help combat the economic effects of Coronavirus. 

Emergency measures also include a safety net for workers and businesses in case of large numbers of people needing to take time off work while ill: the government will refund companies up to two weeks' sick leave for anyone diagnosed with Covid-19. 

Less clear is the government's policy on property, particularly housing affordability for first-time buyers. The only concrete measure for the housing sector that emerges from the current budget is a new land tax of two per cent for foreign buyers of UK property, with the money raised intended for tackling homelessness. A good measure – but no new schemes to help first-time buyers have been introduced, although there will be an increase in funding of £3 billion for the Affordable Housing Programme.

Martijn van der Heijden, Chief Strategy Officer for online mortgage specialists Habito, comments: 

'The measures announced by the Chancellor for small businesses and households are of course welcome – particularly ahead of the expected economic impact of the coronavirus – as are the substantial measures announced to increase affordable housing and tackle rough sleeping. 

'However, at a time when current and aspiring homeowners are seeking confidence and reassurance, the absence of specific measures to support them onto the housing ladder or into their next home is disappointing. 

'We know that access to the housing market remains a fundamental challenge for many, so the lack of structural measures to get a broken housing market moving will come as unwelcome news for households up and down the country.'