Leaving the European Union: Over the next week or two the outcome to Prime Minister May's discussions with the EU representatives will be considered by the House of Commons. Despite the alarmist projections of the Bank of England and Treasury, evidently aimed at scaring us into a very unsatisfactory deal, we shall expect our politicians to examine the facts and demand a much better outcome or a departure from the EU, quite possibly on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms.
Our EU exports amount to just 11% of our GDP. Fewer than one in twelve UK firms sell goods and services to the EU. If we look to trade under WTO rules we shall be able to do so with the EU. The USA and China already sell many billions of pounds of exports to the EU with none of the onerous restrictions conceded by Mrs May as a result of her negotiations. Indeed, most of our existing trade is outside the EU and conducted largely under WTO rules.
"No deal" will mean withholding the £39bn EU divorce bill and spending this at home, boosting our domestic economy. Our revamped customs service should be ready as from Jnuary to cope with the extra checks that will be necessary.
The UK looks forward to establishing and renewing our own connections across the globe, less bureaucratic regulation and a much improved (restored) democratic process. No unelected Commission to dictate policies, no European Court of Justice to rule above our own courts.
UK Business taxes are low and the government has a 5 year mandate. UK economic growth continues at a healthy rate. First quarter 2018 slowed to 0.2%, due to severe weather but has recovered strongly in Quarters 2 and 3. Overall it continues much in line with pre-Brexit years.
Significantly, outside the EU, we shall have the ability to establish greater trade links across the entire world, source cheaper supplies and enjoy the many trading and business benefits that will emerge. The EU will meanwhile struggle on for a while yet with its economic and political problems, its focus on "ever closer political union as dictated by the Commissioners" and a dysfunctional currency causing increasing difficulties for those locked into the Euro.
Housing Policy and Downsizing: A main objective of government in stimulating the economy is housebuilding. In England this is now reaching more than 200,000 new homes each year (184,000 new homes built from scratch and a trotal of 217,000 homes when including conversions). The Communities Minister has stated that the government house building programme will "breathe new life back into High Streets and abandoned shopping centres". There will be a "de facto" presumption in favour of building on brownfield land in planning rules. We can hope that developers will now be able to look forward to the planning process being far less stressful and unpredictable. Certainly planning barriers must be eased and development encouraged. A stamp duty incentive to downsizing would also have the added benefit of freeing up larger homes for the following generations. Indeed punitive levels of stamp duty are gumming up the works throughout the housing market, slowing activity at a time when everyone wants to see growth.
Stamp Duty and transaction volumes: This tax imposition remains at punishing levels and deters house buying and the mobility of the population when considering relocation for work and other purposes. It is in fact a brake on economic activity. This should be a prime area for attention by the Chancellor.