Use Budget to spark housing revolution - Saga Group urges Chancellor

Posted On: 
7th March 2017

Britain’s leading business for the over 50s has urged the Chancellor to use his March Budget to spark a grey revolution and help the thousands of families currently seeking homes.

A Stamp Duty exemption for retirees looking to downsize could release 111,000 family homes back onto the housing market, says Saga.
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Saga has written to Philip Hammond making a powerful case for the Chancellor to introduce a Stamp Duty exemption for those downsizing in retirement.

Research commissioned by Saga suggests this policy would release an additional 111,000 family homes on to the market.  Economists at the Centre for Economic & Business Research (Cebr) estimate that the net cost of such a measure to be modest and predict the Exchequer could see a net gain in Stamp Duty revenue.

Abolishing Stamp Duty on age-related housing developments would also encourage down-sizing, add to the housing stock, and help free up housing for younger people aspiring to home ownership, Saga argues.

Saga’s Director of Communications Paul Green said:  “We have compelling polling evidence that a third of over 60s want to downsize but they are being deterred by the cost of moving.  

“A simple change to Stamp Duty could remove this obstacle and relieve some of the massive pressure in the housing market.  Cebr suggests the cost of this reform would be counterbalanced by an estimated extra £461 million of stamp duty generated by the higher number of house purchases this would provoke.  It’s a win-win for all generations.”

Saga has also urged the Chancellor to consider a wholesale simplification of pensions, removing the “minefield of regulation” created by lifetime and annual limits.

“This Budget is a opportunity for the Government to demonstrate real vision and make radical changes today that will benefit the nation for many years ahead. It’s time to end tinkering with the system.

“Too many people are being put off saving for their retirement and being less dependant on the state’s safety net by the complexity of the system.  Matched contributions up to a set limit would be fairer and would encourage greater saving.

“In addition people should be able to liberate tax-free cash from pension schemes to pay care costs.”

Saga’s final Budget recommendation is Employers’ National Insurance breaks for those employing workers of any age who have been long-term jobless.  

Mr Green said:  “Currently nearly half of the long-term-unemployed are over 50.  Radical action around national insurance contributions would help people back into work.

“Saga says the 2017 Budget should not be solely focused on the JAMs  It should also help those stuck in predicaments they find hard to escape – trapped in homes too large for them, caught in the care net and willing to work but locked out of the jobs market.”

Saga pre-Budget letter calls for Budget action to:

  • Help release family homes by helping older owners to downsize
  • Simplify pensions to boost saving
  • Boost money for care
  • Tackle long-term unemployment among over 50s