Treasury should stamp out duty rumours

The government’s plan to offer a stamp duty holiday has unravelled at extraordinary speed.

I was in two minds as to whether or not to discuss it on Tuesday or Wednesday, because it’s one of those policies that seems too silly to even bother to knock down. Thankfully, both Chris Dillow and Ross Clark did a good job on that front, saving the rest of us some time.

What I wanted to discuss here is the government’s attempts to row back from the plan. The line today is that it’s pure ‘speculation’ and kite-flying by the national media.

Pull the other one. The original Sun piece was by George Pascoe-Watson, the paper’s political editor. The piece was a full rundown of Gordon Brown’s plans to tackle the impact of the credit crunch and, to this observer at least, looked like having come from a briefing from Number 10. It seems an implausible thing for The Sun to have made up, frankly.

The move is already seeing the market seize up as buyers wait to take advantage of the proposed tax break. If the Treasury had any sense, it would come out and explicitly rule out the plan. What chance of that, I wonder?

Related reading