On 8 July 2020, Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, provided the latest economic update, which included some key property announcements:

  1. SDLT – SDLT will only be payable on residential property purchases worth £500,000 or more. The previous threshold was much lower, at £125,000. It’s important to note that this is only applicable in England and Northern Ireland and will apply from 8 July 2020 to 31 March 2021. The Government has advised that this decision will now mean that nearly nine out of ten people getting on or moving up the property ladder will pay no SDLT at all, which will be a welcome result.
  1. Green Homes Grant - A £2 billion Green Homes Grant is being provided to help make homes more energy efficient. The grant will provide at least £2 for every £1 homeowners spend, up to a limit of £5,000 per household (increasing to £10,000 for the lowest income households). This scheme is hoping to update over 600,000 homes across England and help households to save on energy bills.
  1. Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund – This fund aims to help social landlords improve the least energy-efficient social rented homes. The fund kicks off with a £50 million demonstrator project in 2020-21 to decarbonise social hosing, leading to warmer homes and lower energy bills.
  1. Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme – This scheme hopes to help achieve the Government’s aim of halving greenhouse gases from the public sector by 2032 and support economic recovery. The Government is aiming to invest around £1billion into this scheme over the next year, which will be used to offer grants to public sector bodies, such as schools and hospitals, to fund both energy efficiency and low carbon heat upgrades.
  1. VAT - From 15 July 2020 to 21 July 2021, the hospitality industry will benefit from a reduction in VAT from 20% to 5%. This will apply to the supplies of food and non-alcoholic drinks by restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes and similar premises, along with supplies of accommodation and entrance to attractions. Further guidance is awaited on the scope of this relief.