Property Lawyers Call on Government to Backdate Stamp Duty Cuts

10 July 2020

Housing Secretary urged to help those who completed ahead of July 8th

Leading residential property Lawyers have today written to the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick calling for the changes announced to the Stamp Duty threshold to be made retrospective.

The letter welcomes the immediate cut to Stamp Duty costs on the first £500,000 of a property that were announced on Wednesday July 8th, but raises concerns that the plans would come as a ‘bitter blow’ for hundreds who had already finalised proceedings since the start of lockdown in March.

The campaign for change is spearheaded by the Head of Private Client and Conveyancing at law firm Simpson Millar. A petition has now been set up and you can show your support by signing here

Remaining in place until March 31st 2021, the announcement to slash the Stamp Duty comes as part of a post-Coronavirus budget which includes a series of initiatives to help the economy recover.

The UK Government suggests that the high threshold will mean that 9 out of 10 people will pay no stamp duty at all, and that the average house buyer will save £4,500.

Sarah Ryan, Head of Private Client and Conveyancing at Simpson Millar, said that the decision to not backdate the scheme was most likely to affect new build buyers and those who had been on the cusp of completion at the start of the pandemic who have faced ‘months of stress and uncertainty’.

She went on to urge HM Government to make the savings retrospective in order to allow the costs to be recovered by ‘potentially hundreds of people’, many of whom may be experiencing money worries as a result of the crisis.

She said, “We of course welcome the plans announced today to freeze the Stamp Duty costs on any property up to the value of £500,000 which will not only encourage potential buyers to move on and up the proverbial ladder, but will also help to retain jobs in the real estate sector.

“However, there is no denying that for some, in particular those individuals, couples and families who have managed to complete on the purchase of their home either during lockdown, or in the immediate aftermath, this will come as a bitter blow.

“This is most likely to affect those who have bought a new build property as many of those transactions could go ahead despite social distancing, as well as those who were all ready to finalise proceedings once the rules relaxed in May.

“We have now written to the Housing Secretary to call for the scheme to be made retrospective so that those individuals can also benefit from the cost savings.”

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