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Stamp out Stamp Duty unfairness!

Right now there is a unique chance to get a great unfairness exposed on the national political agenda.

It won’t have escaped your attention that there is an election on June 8. What has dropped off most people’s radar is the fact that not one of the major party manifestos contains a single mention of Stamp Duty reform.

So we say there has never been a better time to button-hole a candidate and impress upon them the increasingly urgent need for Stamp Duty reform.

Promises on education, tax, pensions, immigration and the NHS are of course top of the list among all of the parties. Not to mention the rather sticky subject of social care for the elderly, and how you pay for it.

But not a single mention of what is proving to be one of the most socially damaging taxes on our lives – Stamp Duty.

The Family Building Society has long expressed a deep concern that the changes made to Stamp Duty in 2015 by George Osborne are having the reverse effect than the desired ‘flattening’. We think that it’s actually causing great harm to the housing market and the economy as a whole by depressing housing sales at both ends of the market, generally bunging it up!

Elderly home owners don’t want to pay Stamp Duty on their downsized home and, even if they are prepared to do that, struggle to find buyers able to pay the tax surcharge, and in turn, those growing families looking to upsize cannot free up their property to sell to a first time buyer. 

Stamp Duty is something we really can tackle.

And by “later life, upper end of the market” as it has been coined, we don’t mean great country mansions or townhouses in Mayfair. We refer to a significant chunk of parents’ and grandparents’ housing wealth who would like to downsize but can’t.

They can’t because Stamp Duty (at 10 per cent over £925,000) is brutal to a potential buyer. There are tightened mortgage market criteria which restrict creativity in lending, and maybe a post-Brexit sense of low confidence for some.

We know (because we talk to them) that many older people want to move and in many cases to help out their families get onto the ladder but can’t - because there are no buyers.

This doesn’t make any sense for the Government either since if there are no sales, there is no revenue, not to mention the reduced ‘multiplier effect’ on the wider economy as a whole (and by that we mean the money spent not only with the removal man and solicitor, but the new carpet, kitchen, paint, etc., etc., that you inevitably spend in your first six months in a new home.

So when, in the near future, someone wearing a rosette taps on your door – see if you can get them to see sense.

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Family Building Society
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30 Church Street
Surrey KT17 4NL
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