Stamp duty is to be abolished for first-time buyers on properties up to £300,000 as Chancellor Philip Hammond put measures to tackle the UK’s housing crisis at the centre of his Budget.
The measure will also apply on the first £300,000 of a purchase in high-price areas, meaning 95 per cent of first-time buyers will see at least a cut in the amount of stamp duty, with 80 per cent paying none at all.
The cut will come into force immediately, Mr Hammond said, as he set out plans to build 300,000 extra new homes a year by the mid 2020s.
“This is our plan to deliver on the pledge we have made to the next generation that the dream of home ownership will become a reality in this country once again,” Mr Hammond said.
Over the next five years Mr Hammond pledged a total of at least £44 billion of capital funding, loans and guarantees to support the housing market.
The Chancellor also:
:: set out plans to hike road tax for diesel cars
:: set aside £3 billion to prepare for Brexit
:: addressed concerns about the impact of Universal Credit
Paul Foster, Federation of Small Businesses Development Manager for Lancashire, welcomed the decision to leave the VAT threshold at £85,000.
He said: “Lancashire was notably absent from the Chancellor’s speech, while other parts of the country were named as winners of specific funding for projects to boost their economies. Businesses will be relieved that the VAT-registration levels have remained the same and residents in Lancashire will hope to benefit from support to increase house-building and extra money for the NHS.”
“1.5 million modest-earning small firms and the self-employed will be relieved that we have seen off a VAT tax grab that would have caused huge economic damage. Instead, FSB is ready to work with the Treasury to simplify an over-complicated tax that on average takes a business a whole week to administer every year.
“We welcome the careful approach to protect diesel van drivers while at the same time addressing air quality. We also welcome the fuel duty freeze, which is vital to so many local businesses for customers, suppliers and staff.
“FSB presented a series of reforms to the Chancellor to make the business rates system fit for the future, and we are delighted to see many taken on board to improve a tax that so badly undermines economic growth. We are particularly proud to see the elimination of the staircase tax, a victory that FSB has campaigned hard to secure over the last few months.”