Government takes £30 billion in stamp dutyFinance firm says home tax revenue has soared

21 February 2008

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The government has taken in nearly £31.5 billion in stamp duty in the first ten years since Labour came to power, new research shows.

Financial adviser Grant Thornton said the revenue raised by stamp duty on residential property had increased markedly under Labour, soaring nearly eight-fold from £830 million in 1997/98 to £6.5 billion in 2006/07.

The group said this represented an average annual increase of 26% between 1997/98 and 2006/07, compared with a 6% yearly rise in the total tax take for the Treasury during the same period.

Stamp duty rate

It said when Labour took office there was a single stamp duty rate of 1% on all properties worth more than £60,000.

But on July 8 1997, a new 1.5% band was created for properties worth more than £250,000, while those worth more than £500,000 paid the tax at 2%.

These rates were subsequently increased to 3% for properties worth more than £250,000 and 4% for ones worth more than £500,000 today.

Call for reform

The group, which is calling for the tax to be reformed, said there was some relief for first-time buyers when the threshold at which stamp duty kicked in was raised to £125,000 in 2006, although it added that in many areas of the country this was still well below the cost of even the cheapest property.

Karen Campbell, head of stamp taxes at Grant Thornton, said: 'In light of high property prices and tighter lending conditions, first-time buyers are struggling to afford their first property, and stamp duty land tax, in no small way, is impeding millions of potential home-owners from jumping on the property ladder.

'Stamp duty land tax is the best weapon the Government has at its disposal in helping people onto the property ladder, but the Treasury has continued to neglect the aspirations of the middle classes and drag more revenue out of struggling first home-buyers.'

The Conservatives have pledged to abolish stamp duty for first-time buyers purchasing homes costing less than £250,000 if they get into power.

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