The Economic Scene:
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 clearer focus.

Mr Cameron's attempted 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 and no European Court of Justice to rule above our own courts. UK Business taxes are low and we have a newly elected government, supported by the DUP and a 5 year term to run. We expect to see UK economic growth maintained in the year ahead.

We shall have the ability to trade across the entire world and source cheaper supplies and the many trading and business benefits will emerge. The European Union will meanwhile struggle on for a while yet with its economic problems and a disfunctional Euro currency causing major difficulties for those locked into the Euro. 

Housing Policy and Downsizing.
A main objective of government in stimulating the economy is house building which is now running at around 170,000 new homes a year compared with the target of 240,000. The Communities Minister has recently stated that the government housebuilding programme will "breathe new life into High Streets and abandoned shopping centres". There will be a new "de facto" presumption in favour of building on brownfield land in planning rules. We 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 quality homes to suit the needs of the increasing number of "baby boomers" who are now entering their 60's and 70's and wanting to downsize. These properties are in short supply. A stamp duty incentive to downsizing would have the added benefit of freeing up these larger homes for the following generations.

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 or other purposes. It is in fact a brake on economic activity. The Chancellor made some adjustment in favour of first time buyers in last month's budget. Further reductions across the board would be helpful in the year ahead.