Lord Flight, a former Conservative Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has once again slammed his own party’s buy-to-let tax changes, warning they could exacerbate the UK housing crisis.
He fears that the former Chancellor George Osborne’s tax grab on landlords could see thousand of buy-to-let landlords exit the market, reducing the supply of much needed homes in the private rented sector.
Lord Flight first criticised the government’s assault on private landlords at the start of the year, when he warned that the buy-to-let tax changes could destabilise the UK’s housing market by triggering “a sharp fall in prices, if not a crash”, while also threatening to “put thousands of tenants’ security at risk”.
In an article published on the Residential Landlords Association’ (RLA) website, Lord Flight said that the tax chances, including the recently introduced stamp duty surcharge on buy-to-let homes, will inevitably drive up rental values.
From a landlord’s perspective, it has been a tough year, with a raft of changes designed to bring the booming housing market under control and create what the former chancellor George Osborne described as a “level playing field” between investors and homeowners, especially first-time buyers.
But in his article, Lord Flight points to evidence from the London School of Economics that undermines the previous government’s assertions that landlords are buying homes that first-time buyers could have purchased. He also highlights assertions by the Institute for Fiscal Studies that landlords are taxed more heavily than homeowners.
Lord Flight calls on landlords to lobby their local MPs to tell them about the damaging impact the tax changes will have on the supply of affordable homes to rent and encourage them to seek changes in the new Chancellor’s Autumn Statement next month.
Commenting on the article, RLA Chairman, Alan Ward, said: “Lord Flight’s analysis is correct. When we need almost two million more homes to rent by 2025, recent tax changes will choke off investment, increase rents and make it more difficult for tenants to save for a home of their own.
“The new Chancellor has an important opportunity next month to correct the previous Government’s changes to the way the rented sector is taxed. We call on him to seize this opportunity with both hands.”