TaxAdministrationBackgrounder: stamp duty holiday

Backgrounder: stamp duty holiday

The government is set announce its plans for kickstarting the housing market

Backgrounder: stamp duty holiday

Will they or won’t they? That’s the question on every home buyer’s mind this
morning as they ponder whether the government will finally put their money where
their mouths are and announce a suspension/abolition/holiday/reform for stamp
duty.

Speculation about whether the government will attempt to reignite the housing
market with a
reform
of stamp duty
has been underway for most of August ever since briefing from
Number 10 staff that caught Treasury officials and politicians, including the
chancellor, on the hop.

As soon as the idea was mooted however, the housing market slowed again as
prospective buyers held off from closing sales in case for fear of losing the
opportunity of making a saving. Number 10’s now rash looking briefing then
attracted
much criticism.

Commentators quickly pointed to the efforts of former chancellor
Norman
Lamont
to improve the housing market by fiddling with stamp duty only to see
his worthy intentions unrealised.

Others, including estate agents, suffering from a significant drop in sales
welcomed
the offer with open arms.

Indeed the
National
Association of Estate Agents
said it was necessary for first time buyers.

But the policy carries considerable political risk if it fails to provide
the stimulus needed to get the market moving again. Events today will reveal the
who is driving the policy, Number 10 or the Treasury, and what the details.

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