The MP for Chelsea and Fulham, Greg Hands, last week raised the issue of punitive rates of stamp duty and urged Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, to consider reform.
Following publication of the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) latest economic and fiscal forecast, which told of the ‘significant’ deterioration in housing market activity since October’s predictions, Greg seized the opportunity to highlight the plight of would-be buyers in Chelsea and Fulham. Chelsea and Fulham have seen a 31% decline in the number of property transactions since the 2014-15 reforms were introduced.
The March 2019 forecast detailed lower than expected revenue from Stamp Duty receipts – revised down by £0.5bn a year on average – and a further fall of 5.4% in property transactions between the end of 2018 and mid-2019.
Greg told the House: “I warmly welcome the big improvements in the public finances, particularly those as a result of the last spending review in 2015, but the Chancellor has a problem with stamp duty.
“Today’s report says that the forecast has ‘deteriorated significantly’ since October, when it was already £4 billion short. Receipts fell 9.8% in 2018, which is a new £2.7 billion shortfall in the scorecard.
“Transactions in my constituency are down 31% since the reforms. That is something he will need to look at and propose reforms for in due course, perhaps in November.”
Greg then invited the Chancellor to comment on the news and received a welcome response from Mr Hammond, who suggested he would be pleased to meet with Greg to discuss the issue further.
Greg’s intervention follows a lengthy campaign, in which he first raised the issue during the Treasury’s October Budget and subsequently in an article for The Sunday Telegraph. He has been a long-standing advocate for Stamp Duty reform, believing punitive rates at the upper thresholds penalises downsizers and acts as a tax on social mobility; preventing moves that would be otherwise beneficial to both the local and national economy.