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Brokers warn stamp duty reform is not enough

Mortgage brokers have criticised the Government’s stamp duty reforms for not delivering enough to the majority of the UK’s struggling homeowners.

Brentchase Financial mortgage specialist Mike Fitzgerald says: “I suppose something is better than nothing, this move will enable people outside the South East to buy smaller apartments. It might also kick off a buy-to-let revival as more professional landlords will be able to buy more flats.”

Fitzgerald says this announcement might be more of a political move – many of those who will benefit from the stamp duty reform live in Labour constituencies.

He adds: “This move takes the heat off of Darling and Brown but stamp duty needs a root and branch overhaul. The lower threshold should have been raised to at least £225,000 for a start.”

John Charcol senior technical manager Ray Boulger says: “This announcement is inept on the political front. The Conservatives have promised to take 90 per cent of first-time buyers out of stamp duty. This probably means they will increase the first threshold for stamp duty to £250,000.

“In a year’s time, or before if we have an early election, today’s announcement will therefore give the opposition some easy ammunition with which to hit the Government.”

Boulger says this might result in the one year deadline being extended.

London & Country mortgage expert Richard Morea says: “It is good news, it will help some first-time buyers and we have to see the positive in that. The problem was the leak – people expected something big after Darling mentioned stamp duty and this just doesn’t seem enough.

“Also, the measures for the other ‘rescue’ schemes will not begin until April 2009. That’s over seven months and a lot can happen in that time. Reading the small print feels like the Government have given with one hand and taken away with the other.”

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