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Treasury delays stamp duty change in deprived areas

A Treasury blunder has created a backlog of homebuyers waiting to benefit from a Budget pledge to scrap stamp duty in deprived areas of the UK Chancellor Gordon Brown announced plans last November to revive depressed property markets by exempting homebuyers in poor areas from having to pay stamp duty. It announced the measure would take effect this month.

But the move could be delayed until August as the Treasury cannot implement its pledge until researchers have mapped out all areas due to qualify.

The hold-up has been caused because the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland will not complete its research until June – something it says the Treasury has known since the cut was announced last year.

The mistake has left some inner-city brokers with falling mortgage applications as homebuyers wait for the cut to take effect.

A Treasury spokeswoman says: “The abolition of stamp duty is likely to take effect between July and August.”

A Department of Finance and Personnel spokeswoman says: “We were always due to release our updated research this June. The Treasury went ahead with its plans in the full knowledge of this fact.”

London & Country mortgage specialist David Hollingworth says: “People who have been waiting to take advantage of this concession are now going to be left disappointed. As to what the Government eventually says constitutes a deprived area will be interesting to see.”

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