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Tuesday, December 06 2022
World

UK election: Tories plan stamp duty hike on non-UK residents

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London: Foreigners buying properties in England will be forced to pay three per cent more in stamp duty than the UK residents, if the Conservatives win the general election.

The party claims it will help people get on the housing ladder by taking the heat out of the property market, the BBC reported.

The government was already planning a one per cent hike for foreign buyers.

Labour is also proposing a levy on “overseas companies buying housing”, and wants to give local people “first dibs” on homes built in their area.

Currently, foreign individuals and companies can buy homes as easily as the UK residents, but there are longstanding concerns about properties being bought as investments and standing empty, particularly in upmarket areas of London.

The Conservatives quote a study saying 13 per cent of homes in London were bought by overseas buyers between 2014 and 2016.

Research last year by the King’s College Business School suggested foreign buyers did not just push up prices at the high-end of the property market, but there was a “trickle down” effect to less expensive properties, and that cities outside London also felt the effect, said the BBC Report.

The Conservatives are now proposing a surcharge of three per cent to be paid in addition to all other stamp duty charges. They estimate the measure will affect about 70,000 transactions a year, raising £ 120 m, which the party would direct at tackling rough sleeping.

The main political parties in the UK have set out competing proposals to address the housing shortage, ahead of December 12 general election.

Labour said it would embark on the biggest house-building programme since the 1960s, including 100,00 new council houses a year by 2024.

The Conservatives announced measures to help first-time buyers and boost private house building, promising a million homes over the next five years.

The Liberal Democrats set out plans for 3,00,000 new properties a year — a third of which would be social rented homes. The party also said it would also tackle “wasted vacant housing stock” by allowing local authorities to increase council tax by up to 500 per cent where homes are left empty for more than six months. They also want to launch a rent-to-own scheme, which would see social tenants build up an equity stake in their homes over 30 years.

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