The Council of Mortgage Lenders is calling for a reduction in stamp duty in its Budget submission to the Chancellor for the fifth year running.
Stamp duty, the CML claims, is a stealth duty that now affects three quarters of first-time buyers, compared with in 1997, when only around a quarter were affected.
Two years ago, the CML commissioned research that recommended a graduated structure for stamp duty, with its first threshold being 115,000 (in 2001/02 prices – equivalent to around 160,000 in todays market). This recommendation would still maintain revenue levels for the Exchequer.
CML director general Michael Coogan says: “The Government says it wants to help first-time buyers, and the most obvious way to do this is to reduce the burden of stamp duty on them.
“Research from various sources shows how dramatically stamp duty has increased in terms of the proportion of transactions it affects.
“The Government really has no excuse for allowing the ease of the stamp duty tax take to override the need to improve affordability at the lower end of the market.”