The former secretary of state at the Department of Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, is to write to Chancellor George Osborne asking him to exempt ‘granny annexes’ from the controversial stamp duty surcharge.
The three per cent ‘additional homes’ surcharge came into effect last week and significantly increases purchase costs for - amongst other properties - those houses with self-contained apartments within them.
Pickles - a Cabinet member from May 2010 until being sacked after the election in spring 2015 - has told the Daily Telegraph of his concern that the duty will affect up to 33,000 granny flats in England and Wales - although the Treasury says fewer than 1,000 of the flats every year will be hit by the tax change as they come up for sale.
Pickles, who in 2014 presided over the scrapping of council tax on granny flats to encourage more to be built, told the Telegraph that existing owners wishing to sell "could probably get round it by banging great holes in walls and putting in doors".
He says: "Given that there is a ready definition in terms of exemption for council tax, I am going to be writing to the Chancellor suggesting that that they they may care to amend the legislation. I don't think it would cost him very much to do that."
Paul Green, a director at Saga, is also quoted as saying: "Building a granny annexe is a great way of both ensuring that your parents have independence but you also have that social connection and can look after them, so it is good for society, good for families because it frees up family homes and it was right that the Government should encourage that. It is economically illiterate to reverse that policy and it is also morally wrong as well. The government should be supporting families - not trying to keep them apart."