Commenting on Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget speech to the House of Commons, Barton Willmore partner James Hall said: “The Chancellor made only one passing reference to housing in the entire speech – not the progress on the Government’s Housing White Paper that many would have hoped for.

“This was an opportunity for the Government to set out how the more starter homes it called for in the Housing White Paper could be brought forward. We didn’t get that.

“Nevertheless his promise to help the next generation with housing affordability is encouraging. We’d hope this signals the extension of Help to Buy – a major driver in promoting the building of much needed new homes in this region.

“Mention of reform to the business rates revaluation process could provide relief from some of the dramatic rises facing city centre businesses. In which case, this could safeguard the viability of some city centre property schemes. We’ll have to watch the forthcoming detail to gauge what impact this could have. In the short term the continuing uncertainty will not be helpful for developers and tenants alike.

“Some support for SME housebuilders would have been welcome. SME developers can make a significant contribution to the new housing stock in this country, but at the moment they face an obstacle in the face of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). Reducing SDLT would help bring forward more housing.

“The £90m the Chancellor has provided for road improvements in the North will unlock delivery of strategic sites in Newcastle, which are reliant on improvements along the A1.”