The decision to leave the European Union has inevitably caused concern in markets, both here in the UK and across the world. However, the opportunities that Brexit provides will gradually come into focus. Mr Cameron's fruitless negotiations with the European Commission in 2016 showed just how out of touch they are with public feelings, not only in the UK but across much of the continent. Now, as we set out to establish our own path, we look forward to less regulation, 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 (with the support of the DUP). UK economic growth continues at a healthy rate, some 1.9% in 2017 and much in line with pre-Brexit years.
Outside the EU, we shall have the ability to trade across the entire world and 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 problems, its focus on "ever closer political union as dictated by the Commissioners" and a disfunctional currency causing major 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. An area of particular neglect is the building of suitable good quality homes to suit the needs of the increasing numbers of the "baby boomer" generation who are now into their 60's and 70's. and wanting to downsize. These properties are in short supply. 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. The Chancellor made some allowance in tax rates for first time buyers in last November's budget and it would be encouraging to see further very significant cuts taking place during 2018.