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There is ‘no political appetite’ to reform stamp duty – Hollinrake

  • 15/06/2021
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There is ‘no political appetite’ to reform stamp duty – Hollinrake
The Treasury has no desire to reform Stamp Duty Land Tax and any changes would create both winners and losers, Kevin Hollinrake, Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton said.


Speaking at the Kensington Mortgages webinar on the future of the tax, Hollinrake said there were “no easy answers” for any replacements, changes or alternatives. 

He said: “I just don’t see it changing dramatically, I don’t think there’s a political appetite for it.  

“I think it will be seen as a very risky move to do something very transformational or revolutionary.” 

Hollinrake said any changes would still need to be linked to transactions to make it attractive to the government as the housing market was responsible for other parts of the economy. 

He suggested a levy on land value or a proportional property tax based on current values to replace council tax. 

However, he said it could create a North-South divide due to the differences in house prices. He also acknowledged that those who had their wealth tied up in their homes, such as the elderly, may be negatively impacted. 

“I don’t think we can fiddle with it or make tweaks. If you are going to reform stamp duty completely it’s going to be painful in some areas; some people are going to benefit and some people are going to lose out,” he added. 

Also on the panel was Josie Dent, managing economist at Cebr, who said she would like to see an increase in inheritance tax to make up for the losses of a stamp duty abolishment. She proposed this by saying inheritance usually came to people when they were in their 50s and had built up a significant amount of wealth for themselves. 

Vicki Harris, chief commercial officer at Kensington Mortgages said any adjustments would need a country-wide debate. 

“There are a number of different things we’re trying to solve at the same time and there is no perfect solution.  

“We’ve identified enough problems with the current system that it’s the right time to step back now to look and see if we can do something better,” she added. 

Hollinrake said it took the end of the current stamp duty holiday for any reforms to be seriously discussed. 

“The industry should continue to engage with parliamentarians, and we should have discussions in Parliament. There will be lots of different people who have similar views to those which have been expressed on the panel.   

“This Treasury will decide whether it sees the £4bn or £5bn that it’s cost for the raising of this threshold of stamp duty; whether it can afford to do that on an annual basis and whether it can get that back in the future. I think [the Treasury] will phase it back in like it said it will do, and then there will be a discussion within the Treasury about how we reform stamp duty.” 

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