Chancellor denies floating the idea of shifting stamp duty to sellers

Chancellor Sajid Javid stated he has no plans to transfer stamp duty from buyers to sellers, claiming in a tweet that it’s a motion he “wouldn’t support”.

The comments came after the Times reported on Saturday that the Chancellor was floating the idea, to save first-time buyers from paying the tax.

In his tweet, Javid said: “More speculation about stamp duty this morning. To be clear, I never said to @thetimes I was planning to put it on sellers, and I wouldn’t support that.”

He added that “he knows” from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government “that we need bold measures on housing” but added that this “isn’t one of them”.

Stamp duty – a purchase tax paid in England and Northern Ireland on properties worth more than £125,000 – was abolished in 2017 for first-time buyers spending up to £300,000 on a house.

Furthermore, while forcing home sellers rather than buyers to pay the stamp duty tax would have made house purchases cheaper for those looking to take their first steps on the property ladder or those looking to up-size, it could make those looking do downsize, such as older homeowners, reluctant to do so.

According to the newspaper, the Chancellor said: “I’m a low-tax guy. I want to see simpler taxes.”

The story added: “He said that he was looking at various options when asked about stamp duty reforms including reversing liability from those buying property to those selling.”

Commenting on the news, Audley Group CEO Nick Sanderson said: “Shifting stamp duty to sellers would be a catastrophic error. The potential positive impact on first-time buyers would be completely wiped out by the lack of available housing stock.

“Piling more financial burden on the seller would create a barrier to movement in the market, and exacerbate the UK’s existing under-occupation problem. It would be a major brake on downsizing which is so critical to increasing transaction levels. Yet more new homes would be needed, placing strain on green belt areas.

“Let’s hope that Mr Javid is speaking the truth when he says he won’t go down this route, for the sake of both the economy and the environment.”

Javid also said he had not yet decided on whether to hold the Budget before the UK’s departure from the bloc on 31 October.

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