A petition demanding a stamp duty holiday extension is getting closer to its target of 100,000 petition signatures – but needs one last push to reach its goal.
The petition, which has proved popular with buyers and sellers, as well as agents, conveyancing solicitors, mortgage lenders and surveyors, has now attracted more than 93,000 signatures.
The government confirmed last month that it “does not plan” to extend the temporary relief offered to property buyers via the stamp duty holiday.
The government issued a statement, as part of its response to the petition, when it hit 10,000 signatures in December.
A spokesperson for HM Treasury said: “The SDLT holiday was designed to be a temporary relief to stimulate market activity and support jobs that rely on the property market. The government does not plan to extend this temporary relief.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown caused uncertainty for those buying and selling residential property and property transactions fell by as much as 50% during the first national lockdown.
“To stimulate immediate momentum in the property market and to support the jobs of people whose employment relied on custom from the property industry, the government decided to introduce a temporary Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) relief. This relief increased the starting threshold of residential SDLT from £125,000 to £500,000 from the 8 July 2020 until 31 March 2021.
“Since the relief was introduced, transactions have increased and seasonally adjusted data shows that in October 2020, transactions were 8% higher than October 2019.
“As the relief was to provide an immediate stimulus to the property market, the Government does not plan to extend this relief. SDLT is an important source of government revenue, raising several billion pounds each year to help pay for the essential services the Government provides.
“The government is committed to supporting home ownership and helping people get on and move up the housing ladder. When the SDLT Holiday ends, the Government will maintain a SDLT relief for first time buyers which increases the starting threshold of residential SDLT to £300,000 for first-time buyers that purchase a property below £500,000. In addition, a new Help to Buy scheme will be introduced from 1 April 2021. This scheme will run until March 2023.
“All tax policy is kept under review and the government considers the views it receives carefully as part of that process.”
However, the chancellor Rishi Sunak is under increasing pressure to extend the stamp duty holiday beyond 31 March, amid concerns that thousands of buyers could fail to complete before the deadline.
Delays are holding up homebuyers as the current lockdown places extra pressure on conveyancing solicitors, mortgage lenders and surveyors, struggling to push through purchases.
At 100,000 signatures, the petition to extend the stamp duty holiday will be considered for debate in Parliament, and so you may wish to consider signing it.
Dominic Agace, chief executive of Winkworth, said: “Stamp duty should be scrapped or reformed. It has repressed people’s choices since it was introduced as a non-financeable sum paid by the buyer, not by the seller out of the proceeds of the sale. It has blocked a huge number of people from ‘rightsizing’, particularly amongst young families looking for more space where the payments are substantial, and also those closer to retirement looking to downsize, where few can afford to pay the tax or bring themselves to hand over their life savings to the government when they want to move.
“The tax was aimed originally at the very wealthy but, in reality, it hits hard working families in London and the South-east of England. A family house in most parts of suburban London now costs over £1m.
“Furthermore, it is an unnecessary tax. The purpose behind it was to put a lid on prices but the recent stamp duty holiday has proven that it is the wider economics which drive prices.
“Prices in London have not increased during this stamp duty holiday, rather it has enabled people to make the move into the home that’s right for them.”