MP backs our campaign to have stamp duty holiday extended

Preston MP Sir Mark Hendrick is backing the Post’s campaign to have the stamp duty holiday extended beyond the March 31 deadline.

Wednesday, 3rd February 2021, 8:37 am

And the Labour politician described the move as a “no brainer” for the Government, with thousands of home buyers at risk of being hit with a hefty bill if they don’t complete in time.

Long delays in conveyancing work are causing a logjam of cases and there are real fears many sales already being processed will collapse if the window slams shut at the end of next month before they can be finalised.

“The Government should look at it and make an announcement soon,” he told the Post. “In fact think it is a no brainer for them. There are a lot of deals in the pipeline which could be affected.

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Sir Mark thinks the Government should extend the deadline.

“Personally I think the Government will either extend the holiday or taper it. But they will keep people waiting and make it look like they are pulling a rabbit out of a hat. They will do it when it suits them - never mind if lots of house sales have collapsed by then due to uncertainty.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak launched the stamp duty holiday back in July to help boost an economy which has been badly hit by the Covid crisis.

He said the exemption from stamp duty on sales below £500,000 would end on March 31 and has since said he has no plans to change that, despite the backlog of conveyancing.

Solicitors, surveyors, estate agents and mortgage lenders have all been swamped with work as the tax free incentive has sparked a property boom.

But, with less than two months to go, there are thousands of deals caught up in the queue and many of those could miss the deadline, meaning they will face thousands of pounds in extra charges which they hadn’t budgeted for.

Calls for an extension led to an e-petition which was signed by 139,000 people, sparking a debate in the Commons late on Monday.

In it Financial Secretary to the Treasury Jess Norman refused to comment on a possible extension, but he did hint that “substantial performance” might count as completion by March 31.

That could mean those whose conveyancing is at an advanced stage might now qualify.

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