Stamping over old ground

The Labour Party has announced a proposed policy to give first-time buyers relief from Stamp Duty Land Tax provided they are not paying more than £300,000 for their home. Of course, £300,000 buys a lot more in Plymouth or Liverpool than it does in most parts of London or the Home Counties. However, the papers suggest nine out of ten first-time buyers will benefit from this relief.

This is not the first time such a relief has been suggested. A similar relief was actually available from 25 March 2010 until 24 March 2012; so those who hope to enjoy the tax saving may be interested to know the terms on which the former relief was available.

The most important condition was that the purchaser (or all of them if more than one) had to be someone who:

  • intended to occupy the property has his or her only or main residence, and
  • had not previously bought a residential property anywhere in the world.

This denied the relief to a couple purchasing if only one of them met the criteria.

The relief was not available to those paying more than £250,000 for the property; which says something about inflation in property prices over the last five years.

In my blog dated 3 February, I noted that it had taken the English less than two months to copy the enlightened Scottish removal of the slab system so far as residential property is concerned. How long will it take the Scots to copy the Labour proposal, now that the Scots control LBTT, their own version of SDLT?