Labour has criticised the government’s decision to introduce a stamp duty holiday, claiming it offers a “huge bung” to those buying additional properties, including buy-to-let landlords,
Last week’s summer statement provided a much welcome boost for property buyers who stand to benefit from the stamp duty holiday.
The levy has been scrapped immediately for all homes under £500,000, to kickstart the stalled housing market and galvanize the flagging economy.
The chancellor Rishi Sunak said the move would benefit nine in ten homebuyers, saving £4,500 on the average purchase.
But with the threshold raised, purchasers, including buy-to-let landlords, acquiring a property for less than £500,000 will save up to £15,000 on their total tax bill.
However, the 3% surcharge for additional homes, including buy-to-let properties, still applies on top of the revised standard rates, so purchases of homes valued up to £500,000 will attract a 3% stamp duty bill.
But Labour claims that allowing BTL landlords to benefit from the stamp duty holiday would cost the taxpayer £1.3bn, which could be better spent elsewhere.
The party has written to housing secretary Robert Jenrick, calling for him to exclude second homes from the stamp duty cut.
The money could fund the gap in local councils’ finances, according to Labour.
Shadow housing minister Thangam Debbonaire said: “It is unacceptable that the chancellor tried to sneak out this huge bung to second homeowners and landlords while millions of people are desperate for support.
“He should be targeting support to those who need it, not helping people invest in buy-to-let properties and holiday homes.
“An unnecessary subsidy for second home-owners will only worsen the housing crisis by reducing the supply of homes overall.
“We need a credible plan from Tory ministers to build the homes our country needs and get people on to the housing ladder. We didn’t see that last week.”