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March 2009


That’s how much the Stamp Duty threshold would rise to if the Government reacted as they did in the last major UK recession...

THE National Association of Estate Agents has highlighted research from a leading ‘think tank’ as evidence of the Government’s flawed stance on Stamp Duty.

The Centre for Policy Studies compared Government responses to the last major UK recession in 1991 to how Westminster has reacted to the current downturn.

In the early 1990s, the CPS points out, Stamp Duty thresholds were increased eightfold, which meant that 99 per cent of the country was exempt from the tax. A comparable rise today would see the threshold raised to £1 million. In comparison, the current, temporary extension of the Stamp Duty threshold to £175,000 was found by the CPS to have been ineffective.

The NAEA has long argued that Stamp Duty should be completely suspended and revised and the Association’s chief executive Peter Bolton King said: “These figures reveal Stamp Duty in 2009 for what it is – a tax on first time buyers and ambitious home owners with no other purpose than to give the Government as much cash from as many people as they can get away with. The CPS report confirms that the current policy on Stamp Duty is not helping anyone – and that a substantial revision of the tax, as introduced during the last recession, would.It also suggests that the Government could not afford to get rid of Stamp Duty or to raise the threshold to a comparative level to that set during the last recession.

“The NAEA believes that a confident and recovering housing market would deliver more benefit to the country’s economy than any short-term measures hatched at the Treasury.”