Iona was a special guest on Moneybox Live, the BBC Radio 4 Budget analysis show this afternoon.
Presenter Paul Lewis said Iona had written earlier this week that chancellor Philip Hammond had “a golden opportunity to make the public finances fairer for the younger generations” and asked whether he had done that.
Iona: “I am not convinced. I probably should also have said that previous chancellors have had golden opportunities and squandered them, and to be honest the measures announced today sound good but they are well overdue. Arguably stamp duty is something that should be scrapped right across the board.”
Iona said that older homeowners wanting to downsize (as well as those needing bigger family homes) still faced the offputting tax, which meant housing supply was not being freed up across the market.
Paul Lewis went on to ask what effect the measure would have, given that the Treasury admitted it might lead to higher prices of first-time homes.
Iona said those able to save for a deposit perhaps with help from the bank of mum and dad would find a saving of thousands of pounds welcome. “But it won’t help if we don’t do something about building the much-promised supply of homes.”
Iona went on to say: “Ostensibly this Budget is meant to be about increasing supply in the right place of the right kind of homes, it doesn’t apply to the green belt which has become politically contentious, the hope is there can be enough land freed up in places like London suitable for first-time buyers…but again there is lots of talk about consultations and investigations, looking into things.”
Paul Lewis noted that the chancellor had said nothing about student financing.
Iona: “Philip Hammond has made the political calculation that in order to woo younger voters it is more practical and doable to look at the housing market, which is probably the defining issue for millennials, and he has obviously thought that the student loan system, as flawed and messy as it is at the moment, probably doesn’t have a ready-made solution waiting in the wings.
“But I would say that maintenance grants, having been scrapped, could be due for a comeback at some point.”
Finally Iona commented on the new 25-30 Railcard, noting that it would not give young workers any reduction on their commuting costs, as the one-third off applied only to off-peak travel. “It will help if you are going home for Christmas.”