Budget 2020

Budget 2020: Calls to reduce 'punitive' stamp duty and reform BTL taxation




Changes to current BTL taxes, the planning process and a reduction in stamp duty have been highlighted by leading figures in the specialist finance sector as key policy adjustments they would like to see in the forthcoming Budget.

Chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak will present the Budget to parliament on Wednesday (11th March).

“Stamp duty continues to be a major drag on the property market, especially on higher-value properties, where it is nothing less than punitive,” said Mark Posniak, managing director at Octane Capital.

“Given that many ordinary homes in London can be worth well over £1m, its impact is particularly pronounced in the capital.”

Mark added that the various taxation changes introduced by former chancellor George Osborne had “wreaked havoc on BTL” and, as a result, it didn’t “seem unreasonable to review them in their entirety”.

“We have a new government and a brand-new chancellor, so what better time to initiate some real change and reignite BTL?”

Charles McDowell, managing director at Hampshire Trust Bank, stated that he’d like to see the government tackle the issues that the housing market faces “head on and with conviction”.

“[The bigger issue] we need to tackle is the small matter of the enormous deposits required by first-time buyers, as well as the issue of supply in the first place.

“We need to build more homes and the current planning process is archaic and unhelpful in achieving this goal.”

According to Tomer Aboody, director at MT Finance, “it would be a hugely positive move if [Sunak] reduced stamp duty in the Budget, ideally focusing on the higher end of the market”.

“This would slowly impact and trickle down the market, encouraging homebuyers who are looking to upscale to get on and do so.

“In turn, they will put their own homes on the market, giving buyers further down the ladder more options when it comes to finding a property to purchase.”

Mark Pilling, managing director at Spicerhaart Corporate Sales, highlighted the need for the government to begin “making good on its talk of ‘levelling up’ regional economies”.

“They’ve already announced new streams of funding for a number of disadvantaged towns, but if those places are going to share in the prosperity of the South East, they are going to need to draw in private investment, too.

“Keeping big employers, and attracting new ones, is an important part of that, but for communities to have greater economic security, there also needs to be a layer of small- and medium-sized businesses investing in the future.”

Oliver Jenkinson, co-founder of Finstock Capital, suggested that he’d welcome confirmation that R&D and other forms of tax relief would continue as before.

He also stated that he would like to see “clarity on any changes which will occur” as well as “R&D tax credits to be payable, even in the event that the company is no longer solvent”.

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, added that the most important message for the chancellor — as far as the housing market was concerned — was to “do nothing to compromise the already relatively low level of transactions, and as much as [he] can to increase them, particularly for first-time buyers”.

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