Stamp Duty

Don’t just do something Mr. Hammond, sit there!

Ah, the joys of Spring. Hosts of waving daffodils, cheery birdsong – and a mini Budget update. If the country is to emerge from its collective wintry torpor then Mr. Hammond has to grow up, be a man and cut the Stamp Duty monster down to size. The problem stems from the clumsy ‘revision’ of the Stamp Duty escalator. Not only does it bend the Residential Property Market out of shape, but it is now costing the Treasury a £1billion per annum or more to sustain.

Like many government ‘ideas’, it reeks of incompetence and failure (thank you, George Osborne for this legacy). Prospective purchasers above a £1million, i.e. mostly in London, are being hit by a slew of aggravated tax costs. Not surprisingly, transaction numbers have been curtailed by 70% and any liquidity in the market has turned to stodge. This tax is perfectly collectable, but easily avoided – as long as you don’t do anything so ridiculous as move house.
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Sick Building Syndrome

According to the press, Westminster Council is considering a ban on the building of supersized homes. Is this a prudent planning measure or is the council suffering from a bad dose of the ‘Trots’?

Of course, this ‘initiative’ is risible and I’m sure that the green-eyed diktat will be poorly received by certain residents of this London borough.

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Halleluiah! The deal of the century is done, everyone get ready for the ‘Brexit bounce’

Halleluiah! At last the Brexit deal seems to be done. If it gets through the various hurdles, then we could be due for a Brexit bounce and not a moment too soon.

After two tortuous years of clowning around in the Brussels three ring circus, we finally have a deal. And not just any deal. It’s a deal that our former European partners can agree to (shock, horror) and one that May feels able to navigate through the labyrinthine parliamentary process. Read more