Communities secretary Sajid Javid refuses to budge on stamp duty

Helen Cahill
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Javid faced questions from the communities committee today (Source: Getty)

Communities secretary Sajid Javid has refused to budge on the government's stamp duty policy.

Stamp duty rates were raised for homes worth more than £1m when George Osborne was chancellor. However, developers and others in the property industry have fiercely opposed the changes because they have contributed to falling house prices in the centre of London.

Read more: UK house price growth has fallen to its lowest since 2013

Opponents of the policy also argue that it has stagnated home sales at the top end of the property market, making it more difficult for younger generations to move up the housing ladder.

However, when these concerns were put to Javid by the communities committee today, he said that the high rates of stamp duty only affect a small proportion of people; those who are buying the most expensive homes on the London market.

In addition, any decision on tax would ultimately be made by the Treasury, not the communities department.

Read more: Battersea Power Station boss issues rallying call over stamp duty

"My focus has been on people on average incomes trying to buy an average home," he said.

“There is obviously a link between the top end of the market and the bottom end...and, as with any tax change, in time, it's important to keep it under review. But it’s not a decision for this department.”

Developers are now joining forces to fight the government on its stamp duty policy. Rob Tincknell, boss of the Battersea Power Station Development Company, is forming a lobby group which will gather evidence on how the policy has affected the property market, in a bid to get it changed.

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