Islington TPA supporters were out in force last Friday, setting up a stall on Islington Green to inform local residents about our ‘Stamp Out Stamp Duty’ campaign. Some 2,403 Islington residents have recently paid over the 3% rate when buying houses in the area, a total sum of £62,531,471 going out of their pockets into the government’s coffers—one of the highest in the country.
Unsurprisingly, our message got a very supportive reaction from local people, many of them not aware of the high level of Stamp Duty now levied on the sale of even quite modest homes. ‘Do you see the look on my face?’ said one. ‘This is a shocked face!’ Stamp Duty hits the hopes and aspirations of young, prospective first-time buyers hard. ‘This is really speaking to me right now,’ said one 20-something chatting to her parents about trying to buy a flat.
We visited a number of estate agents along nearby Upper Street and Essex Road and left leaflets with most of them. All of them supported our campaign. They felt that Stamp Duty was getting in the way of house sales generally and of first-time buyers in particular.
‘A tax on property purchase that goes up to 7% of the purchase price of the property clearly creates a disincentive for people to move,’ said Ian Fraser of Winkworth. ‘Although the market in London in particular is currently extremely buoyant, transaction levels are still lower than the long term average and the Stamp Duty increases in recent years have played a significant part in this.’
‘If people cannot move up the ladder,’ continued Fraser, ‘it will choke off supply at the bottom and push prices up for first time buyers who find it difficult enough to get onto the property ladder as it is. We all appreciate that the government has to raise revenues from somewhere and no one likes paying tax but it would seem that a tax on property purchase is a very retrograde step when so much of this country’s finances, on a personal, corporate and governmental level are bound up in house prices.’
‘As a sales negotiator and a first time buyer,’ said Max England of Next Move, ‘Stamp Duty only seems to make the process harder. I feel that housing prices seem to be getting higher and as a result there should be some sort of realistic negotiation in which Stamp Duty can be removed, so that people in a similar situation to myself can also jump on the property ladder. With schemes coming in to supposedly help first time buyers, surely the simple solution is to reduce the huge amount of tax from Stamp Duty?’
Thanks must go to James Warrilow, General Manager of Brown’s on Islington Green, who so generously provided us with much-appreciated free refreshments and made us feel particularly welcome.
Send a letter to your local MP calling for a reduction in Stamp Duty here