News & stories News Autumn Budget round up Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced a series of measures in the Autumn Budget that affect homelessness and housing. These include changes to the administration of Universal Credit, investment in piloting Housing First and the creation of a task force to tackle rough sleeping: Universal Credit has received a £1.5 billion package. Claimants will not have to wait seven days before they are entitled to money and the repayments period for advances will be extended from six months to 12 months. Local authorities will now have the power to charge a 100% council tax premium on empty properties, in a bid to tackle homelessness. £28million will be invested in three new “Housing First” pilots in the West Midlands, Manchester and Liverpool. A ‘homelessness taskforce’ will be established in an attempt to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminate it by 2027. 300,000 new homes will be built in England as part of a plan to make housing more affordable for first time buyers. Stamp duty has been scrapped for first-time buyers – those £300,000 on a property will no longer pay the tax, while those paying up to £500,000 will only be charged on the part of their purchase over the new threshold.