Philip Hammond scraps stamp duty for first-time buyers on homes under £300,000

Posted On: 
22nd November 2017

First-time buyers will pay no stamp-duty on properties worth up to £300,000 in a move designed to help young people onto the housing ladder, Philip Hammond has announced today. 

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The Chancellor revealed the offer in his Autumn Budget, saying it would help to “revive the home-owning dream in Britain.”

The tax break will also be available on the first £300,000 of homes worth up to £500,000 in high price areas such as London.

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The move will reportedly cost the treasury £670m by 2022-23.

Mr Hammond told MPs: “We send a message to the next generation that getting on the housing ladder is not just a dream of your parents’ past but a reality for your future.”

Jeremy Corbyn was scathing about the announcement, however, saying: "With this government delivering the worst rate of housebuilding since the 1920s... any commitment would be welcome.

"We need a large-scale publicly funded housing programme, not this government's accounting tricks."

Following the announcement, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said the measure is "expected to increase house prices" and has given it a "high" uncertainty rating.

The body says house prices will increase by 0.3% before adding that the main beneficiaries from the policy are people who already own property, not the buyers themselves. 

Elsewhere in the speech Mr Hammond pledged to relax council borrowing rules, freeing up cash-strapped local authorities to build more homes.  

He also revealed he would “give Local Authorities the power to charge a 100% council tax premium on empty properties.”

Turning to the Grenfell fire, he said there would be £28m to support survivors and extra cash for councils to spend on “essential fire safety work”.

“This tragedy should never have happened,” he added.

Rumours of sweeping planning reforms that would threaten the greenbelt did not come to fruition however, with the Chancellor reassuring MPs that any changes would “focus on the urban areas where people want to live and where most jobs are created.”

This follows reports earlier in the week that Tory whips had been mobilising backbench opposition against such a move.

Mr Hammond also confirmed that the Government would aim to build 300,000 new homes a year.

TORY HOUSING RECORD

Previous flagship housing announcements that made headlines at the time remain undelivered, however, with David Cameron’s 2015 general election pledge to allow 1.3m housing association tenants to buy their homes still unrealised.

A year before that the Government announced a ‘Starter Homes’ scheme, which promised 100,000 first-time buyers the opportunity to buy a new home at a 20% discount, but as yet not a single one has been built.

Shadow Housing Minister, John Healey said: “Ministers’ record on housing since 2010 shows this is a government that talks big but delivers little. Even flagship manifesto pledges have been dropped or delayed.”