2 July 2019

Will Boris abolish stamp duty?

Assuming he becomes our next Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has announced that he plans to scrap stamp duty as part of a raft of ideas designed to give the economy a boost when we leave the EU.

Regardless of ones views about Brexit, this is fantastic news for the property market and for the wider economy. This is because stamp duty is a tax on aspiration and a drag on the economy. I have been writing about this very subject for many years so I for one would be delighted to see this odious regressive tax abolished.

The biggest problem with the housing market right now is that people aren’t moving up the property ladder like they used to and the number one reason for this is punitive levels of stamp duty. This change in behaviour causes a lack of suitable housing stock, skills shortages in areas with the lowest property transactions and a general stagnation in the market.

Not so long ago the whole process of moving house was a significant driver of the economy because moving triggers the purchase of a whole range of products and services and the government did very well out of it too because they collected lots of VAT. Now people move less often and this means less expenditure on kitchens, bathrooms, extensions, loft conversions, windows, boilers, carpets and professional services.

So bring it on Boris. Let’s stimulate the economy and the housing market, and who knows, HMRC might collect more tax into the bargain.