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BSA urges Government to make stamp duty exemption permanent

The Building Societies Association has urged the Government to make permanent the stamp duty exemption for first-time buyers on purchases under £250,000 ahead of next week’s Budget.

Director general Adrian Coles says the move would get more first-time buyers on to the housing ladder as it remove one of the barriers associated with buying a home for these borrowers.

He says: “Obtaining a mortgage remains very challenging for first-time buyers, who must raise a large deposit. Transaction costs act as a further barrier to house purchase, so we call on the Government to make permanent the exemption from stamp duty for first-time buyers on properties under £250,000.”

Coles adds the “slab” structure of stamp duty should be reformed. He says: “It is time stamp duty for all buyers was reviewed.”

The trade body is also calling on the Government to remutualise Northern Rock.

Coles says: “Keeping a reformed Northern Rock independent of the big banks would be good for competition, and we would urge the Government to seriously consider the benefits of remutualisation.

“A re-launched and remutualised Northern Rock can repay the taxpayer stake over time. A deferred payment profile can give the optimum outcome, both returning the full value to the taxpayer and achieving other public policy goals, such as increased stability and competition.”

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