Where to begin? Stamp Duty is so distortive, inequitable and deserving of being scrapped that it is hard to find anyone willing to defend it.
The Economist (24 Nov 2018) describes it as 'inefficient and unfair'. The RICS has called for a full-scale review of it. An LSE study in 2017 said it 'contributes to England’s dysfunctional housing market' by limiting the ability of first time buyers to buy without parental help. It also, as the LSE points out, deters older home owners from downsizing by making them 'write a cheque to HMRC when they buy their new home'.
Stamp Duty is a tax on ambition and a disincentive to people moving into more appropriate post-family space. It raises between £8bn and £12bn annually for the Treasury but stifles economic activity in other areas. Some economists believe that total Treasury revenue would actually be higher if Stamp Duty were scrapped, by virtue of that increased economic activity.
Stamp Duty also holds back choice and constrains demand for new housing, especially in respect of retirement communities. Scrapping it would lead to a more mobile housing market as older owners downsize and free up homes for those lower down the housing ladder. Everyone ultimately benefits.
There is near unanimity that Stamp Duty needs scrapping. The only question is what, if anything, should replace it. The impact of the current regime is so destructive to the social and economic fabric of the UK that almost anything is better than the status quo.
Please sign and donate to the campaign to scrap this inequitable, damaging and outdated tax.