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Thinktank calls for Stamp Duty to be scrapped

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has repeated calls for Stamp Duty to be scrapped as politicians prepare for party conference season where future policy will be discussed ahead of next year’s General Election.

The thinktank is a long-term critic of the controversial property tax.

A blog from its deputy director Helen Miller yesterday asked readers to pick a tax that needs reform, adding that housing charges are problematic.

She said the council tax system is outdated while Stamp Duty should simply be scrapped, adding: “It imposes a heavier tax charge on properties that change hands more often. 

“There is no good reason to do this. It gums up the housing market meaning people find it harder to move to where the jobs are, young families struggle to trade up, and older people hold onto bigger properties than they need, because it costs so much to move.”

Miller said tax is set to be a key issue at annual political party conferences and during the General Election.

She said: “UK tax revenues are historically high. Spending pressures will grow, most notably because an aging population will increase the cost of providing healthcare, social care and state pensions. Without tax rises or a major pick-up in growth, UK public service and benefits provision will either have to be scaled back or it will deteriorate. 

“But our living standards will be shaped not only by how much tax revenue is raised, and what it is spent on, but also by how it is raised. Taxes could be simpler, fairer and less damaging to our productivity. 

“If there is one thing that will make our choices over tax and spend easier, it’s productivity. Caring for an aging population, reaching net zero, improving public services or even cutting taxes, would all be easier if we were richer. 

“Missing that opportunity seems to me to be almost as silly as a tax that applies to marshmallows, unless they are intended to be roasted and eaten from a stick. There’s no shortage of choice on where to start reforming. Pick any tax.”


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