Budget is missed opportunity on stamp duty reform

Ian Biggs

We had high hopes for the Budget – we were expecting a focus on ‘green’ ahead of the COP26 summit in a few days’ time and crossing our fingers for the government to take the lead on reducing the environmental impact of the property market. Unfortunately, we felt like there were a lot of missed opportunities.

First off, the Budget missed the opportunity to spruce up Stamp Duty. HM Treasury has had more than a year of bumper returns while the holiday was in place, raking in £13.5bn in the process, and yet there don’t seem to be any lessons learned.

We still think there’s a smarter way to tax property purchases in a way that maximises returns to the taxman, reduces the financial burden on buyers and, as the Green Finance Institute proposed, incentivises much-needed green improvements to homes across the country. 

Overall, there was very little for homeowners in today’s Budget. The Chancellor’s commitment to building 180,000 new affordable homes by 2025-26 is a start, but we’ve seen promises like this before.

An increase in housing supply will be vital to keep the market moving and get more people on the housing ladder, and we hope this comes to fruition.

The lack of initiatives to support first-time buyers was particularly disappointing. The missed opportunity here was not only to give those buying their first home an extra boost, but also to support those on the journey to saving for that all-important deposit.

People looking to get on the property ladder or to move home in the next year will be disappointed the Chancellor offered them nothing of substance in this Budget.

Ian Biggs is head of product performance at Coventry Building Society