Property Personnel slams Chancellor for not slashing stamp duty

The Managing Director of the UK_s longest-established estate agent recruitment consultancy has slammed the Chancellor for failing to reduce stamp duty in today_s Autumn Statement.

Property Personnel Managing Director Anthony Hesse said: _Slashing the rate of stamp duty would have been Philip Hammond_s single most effective fix for UK finances. There is no more economically stimulating activity than house sales and purchases – so it would have been a tax cut that would largely have paid for itself. As a result, the continued stifling of the market is a missed opportunity for both the estate agency sector and the country._

Anthony Hesse says that whilst the replacement of the _slab_ system of stamp duty with a _slice_ approach in 2014 was an improvement which reduced the burden for many homebuyers, it has been the cumulative hikes in the levy since 1997 which have continued to block the market.

He explained: _Rates at the upper end of the housing market have now been set so eye-wateringly high that they are killing it off. Inevitably, this has an impact lower down the chain. A substantial cut in the rates would have reduced people_s current disincentive to move, and would have brought in more money for the Treasury as a result. But as it stands, we know that the existing duty realised only half as much as expected last year _ namely œ330m, rather than the œ700m predicted.

_What_s more, the 3% surcharge on investors and second-home buyers has led housebuilders to think again before constructing the new homes that the country so desperately needs._

Anthony Hesse says that a cut in stamp duty would mean businesses associated with the property market would also stand to benefit. He added: _This is not just about getting estate agency back on its feet. There are dozens of related professions that start to do well when estate agency is flourishing. Surveyors, removal companies, solicitors, builders, plumbers, electricians, kitchen fitters and decorators all benefit from more property transactions and all provide an increased tax take for the Treasury.

_Of course, I_m not pretending that these criticisms are entirely without self interest. My company acts as a specialist recruitment company for the estate agent industry, and has been doing so for nearly 30 years. The sector relies upon a high volume of transactions and is undeniably struggling at the moment, with job losses, branch closures and company amalgamations on the cards for many.

_But former Chancellor Nigel Lawson was right when he described stamp duty as a _tax on mobility_. The truth is that cutting rates would have been of massive benefit not only to the estate agency sector, but also the country as a whole._

Breaking News by:ÿProperty Publicity – Eric Dixon eric@propertypublicity.co.uk

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