Government dismisses calls for stamp duty shake-up

The Government has dismissed calls from a House of Lords committee to review the way stamp duty affects the housing market, and introduce reforms to help first-time buyers.

In a report published in April 2019, the House of Lords select committee on intergenerational fairness and provision said stamp duty has "seriously distorted the housing market".

The report said the tax tends to discourage downsizing and instead incentivise people to increase the size of their home, making it harder for first-time buyers to find suitable properties.

The committee recommended that the Government should "review the effect of stamp duty on the liquidity of the housing market" and reform it to make more housing available to young families.

In a response to the recommendation, the Government said it has already reformed stamp duty in recent years.

In 2014, the tax was made payable only on the portion of property value that falls within each band, rather than on the whole property.

In 2017, the price at which a property becomes liable for stamp duty was increased to £300,000 for first-time buyers in England, meaning 80% of people buying their first home do not have to pay it.

The Government's response added that it "keeps all taxes under review and will carefully consider further changes ahead of future fiscal events as appropriate".

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