Prime Minister David Cameron has dismissed out of hand appeals and comments from Estate Agent Today readers to reconsider the recent measures aimed at making buy to let investment less attractive.
Earlier this month EAT readers had the rare opportunity to have their concerns put to the premier by Andrew Goldthorpe - chief executive of PropertyMutual.co.uk and owner and managing director of PropertyPortal.com - who lives in Witney, where David Cameron is the local MP and holds weekly surgeries for constituents.
After a substantial number of comments were contributed by readers, (here), they were put to the Prime Minister’s office by Goldthorpe; the hope was that they may be the focus of a meeting so the issue could be discussed, even briefly, on an MP-and-constituent basis.
However, this has not happened and instead Goldthorpe received this ‘stock’ response from the Prime Minister through his constituency office staff:
“David has read your email and I spoke to him today.
"He says “There is a problem that in many places families who can’t afford a home to buy are being squeezed out by people buying a home to let, or as a second property to stand empty for most of the year.
“That is why we have introduced a new rates of Stamp Duty that will be 3 per cent higher on the purchase of additional properties like buy-to-lets and second homes.
“This extra stamp duty raises almost a billion pounds by 2021 – and we’ll reinvest some of that money in local communities that are being priced out of home ownership.”
“He has also sent your email to the Financial Secretary of The Treasury for his comments on the highlighted part of your email [referring to the official consultation about the proposed stamp duty change] and thank you again for writing.”
Goldthorpe says he made it clear to the Prime Minister’s constituency office “in no uncertain terms” how disappointed he was that this attempt to put the industry’s views was dismissed out of hand.
For any reader not aware of the huge debate within the industry in recent months, the three most controversial measures proposed by the government are:
- an additional stamp duty surcharge of three per cent on all ‘additional properties’ (so chiefly buy to let properties and second homes) priced above £40,000;
- the restriction of mortgage relief for buy to let investors to only the basic rate of income tax, even for investors paying higher rates;
- a change in the Wear and Tear Allowance, permitting landlords to claim only for repairs involving receipts.
To add insult to injury, as many in the industry see it, the official consultation over the proposed stamp duty surcharge was launched on a Bank Holiday in the middle of the Christmas and New Year break, when publicity and industry attention was at its lowest.
However, readers still have until February 1 to respond to the consultation.