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London mayor wants to use stamp duty receipts on mortgage innovation

UK City of London 440

Deputy London mayor for housing, land and property Richard Blakeway has called for the city to receive stamp duty receipts so it can fund mortgage innovation.

Speaking at a fringe event on home ownership at the Conservative conference in Birmingham last week, Blakeway said he understands innovation can be “challenging” but he is open to new ideas.

From April 2015, the Scottish Government will have the power to collect, set and spend its own stamp duty under new rules in the Scotland Act 2012.

Blakeway said: “Clearly the mayor of London would like to receive stamp duty receipts like Scotland so we can have more innovation in housing. There is a real opportunity to be innovative.”

The Greater London Authority runs the First Steps scheme alongside housing providers L&Q and Metropolitan Home Ownership, working on behalf the Homes and Communities Agency.

The scheme aims to help first-time buyers take an equity stake in their home and get their first foot on the ladder in private or social housing.

Blakeway said he tried to launch a rent-to-buy mortgage scheme years ago only for it to be branded “dangerous and premature” by then housing minister Margaret Beckett.

He said: “We now have a Government that is willing to listen and be creative. There has been talk around mortgage guarantees for a long time but it is actually happening now by genuinely looking at how to use the balance sheet.

“We also have a mayor who, because of the Localism Act, has a budget that gives him a purposeful amount to innovate and do things to address London issues that you do not get with national schemes.”

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