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.