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Beresfords wish list for the Budget

By Terry Holmes - 12 March 2012

What Beresfords would like to see the Chancellor announce as part of the upcoming Budget:

Stamp Duty

What was really a tax on expensive property 30 or 40 years ago is now something that almost everyone now has to pay. It is especially stacked against more expensive areas such as London and the Home Counties.

It’s fundamentally wrong that at £250,000 the rate triples from 1% to 3%, arguably the level where people, often ‘first time sellers’ in many parts of the County, are least likely to be able to afford it. Above 3%, it rises in 1% increments to 5%.

We’d like to see some form of weighting for more expensive areas in lower price ranges and continuation of the Stamp Duty holiday for first purchasers or better still a permanent rise in the level the tax comes in at.

We also believe there should be another band of 2% between say £250,000 and £375,000 to help those it impacts on most and make it consistent with other band differentials.

Alternatively, introduce the more common tax structure (eg as income tax) of a standard SD rate of 1% and band increases are based on the excess not on the whole amount. At £300,000 this would equate to £4,000 instead of £9,000.

Property and pension funds

The previous Government introduced measures to allow residential property (at present it is only commercial) to be part of people’s personal pension funds and then promptly changed their mind.

We’d like the Chancellor to reconsider the eligibility of residential property in people’s pension funds.

Many are turning to buy to let to supplement their pensions in view of the likely long term issues with both state funding and the poor performance of private pensions. It’s difficult to see why commercial investments are included and not residential when it is residential property that people are more familiar with.

New build

We are building less than half the new homes in the UK seen as necessary to meet our needs.

We deal with major national builders that have the funds to buy and develop land but what we need to see are measures and incentives that encourage, not discourage, land owners to bring sites to the market.

Growth, not spending cuts, is essential to drive the UK economy forward

Whilst this wish list would cost the Exchequer in revenue, there would be a gain in that a huge part of the cost of moving is taxation so a higher transaction level will offset this.

In addition unlike other purchases, there’s the ‘multiplier effect in a house move. Every time a property is sold there’s a whole raft of other sectors that are drawn in. It’s not just estate agents and solicitors, but removal companies, the retail sector (with furnishings, white goods and the like), DIY, garden centres, builders, kitchen suppliers etc etc etc, the list is pretty much endless and of course these businesses pay tax as well.

On the pension side, again there are obvious advantages in encouraging schemes that could lead to less dependency on the overburdened State alternative.

New build can be the catalyst to revive the economy of a whole area. Local employment opportunities are generated not just on the site itself but with local suppliers right down to the sandwich van at lunchtimes! It also provides revenue to local councils and can often bring in other capital projects such as new schools, health centres etc.

Lets see what happens on the 22nd March!