Investors in the north of England will welcome the reform of stamp duty land tax on commercial property purchases. It is now graduated in bands rather than a staircase tax.
Under £150,000 there is now no SDLT to pay whilst from £150,001 to £250,000 the new rates is 2% increasing to 5% for the next band between £250,000 and £1,050,000.
It is said that buyers under £1.05m will now pay less tax than before.
Lease stamp duty has been changed as well, and it is said that this will also benefit smaller transactions.
The more than doubling of small business rates relief will also be welcome in our Region. There is some ambiguity in the changes announced, however. My interpretation of the Chancellor’s statement is that any ratepayers whose premises have a rateable value of under 15000 will get 100% relief with effect from 1st April 2017, whereas some reporters have suggested that this threshold merely doubles to 12,000. I believe that the former is correct.
No announcement has been made about the next rates revaluation and despite the positive changes made for Small Businesses, some will still be saddled with rateable values that are excessive in relation to present market conditions. Current rateable values were set based on market conditions in April 2008 (the ‘antecedent valuation date‘ to put it technically) at which point the UK economy was overheated and rents generally high.
There is no reported change in Landlord’s allowances though, hence presumably the 2600 threshold beyond which Landlords must pay unoccupied rates after the void allowance of 3-6 months ends, continues as before.
Meanwhile, the Chancellor is putting in place fiscal measures to support the working up of plans and proposals for the HS3- high speed rail to connect Leeds with Manchester. No doubt this is still a very long term infrastructure project but given the congestion and high rate of serious accidents occurring on the M62 motorway, in that context the actual building of such transport links can’t come soon enough.
There is also similar money allocated for the planning of a tunnel between Manchester and Sheffield.