Should Stamp Duty be abolished?
Arguments are being made for abolishing Stamp Duty in the UK. The Kiwis did away with it in 1999. Now many economists here are stating that it is an inefficient tax that restricts the activity of the housing market. There are suggestions that to create a post-Brexit boom, Stamp Duty and other property tax should be given the heave-hoe.
It is also claimed that getting rid of Stamp Duty may help ease the chronic housing shortage – a very real problem in Cornwall. The number of households seeking affordable housing in Cornwall is more than eight times greater than the number of properties that become available each year, according to research recently conducted by Cornwall Housing.
With such a shortage of existing housing stock and very tight planning laws that affect the new build housing target, the UK housing market solution is a very complex problem to solve. However, there is convincing evidence that Stamp Duty affects people’s decision to move house. Older people whose children have flown the nest are less likely to downsize which means that there is a shortage of family homes. This equates to around 16 million spare rooms.
Freeing up some of the housing stock would improve welfare, stimulate the economy and allow a more even socio-economic spread within communities. It would also encourage more private landlords to invest in rental properties which is also very much needed. Of course, the most positive aspect of no Stamp Duty is lower moving costs, which is a financial cost many people just cannot afford.
We will keep you updated as to any further developments.
KATHERINE FLASHMAN KITSON CELEBRATING 25 YEARS AS A DIRECTOR OF PARNALLS
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