An accountancy trade body has revealed that last year it briefed MPs - including the Prime Minister and Housing Minister of the time - calling for measures to be taken against overseas residents buying property in Britain.
The Association of Accounting Technicians which boasts 140,000 members, says it has long called for action to be taken against overseas residential property investors.
On the basis of a 2017 survey of its members - which saw 78 per cent of respondents back extra tax on foreign buyers and just 14 per cent oppose - the organisation subsequently briefed all MPs, including the Prime Minister and Housing Minister.
It also admits to contacting all MPs over recent months “setting out the case for reform.”
Following the campaign, May this week confirmed an additional stamp duty surcharge on overseas residential investors of one to three per cent - the exact amount will be agreed following a formal consultation period.
Phil Hall, AAT’s head of public affairs and public policy, says the surcharge is not going to solve the housing supply shortage but is what he describes as “a sensible and measured response to an increasing problem that will also raise £40m to £120m and add a degree of previously absent fairness to the system.”
He continues: “Put simply, it doesn’t matter how many houses are built in the UK, there will never be enough to meet demand because demand is not simply coming from the 65m currently resident in the UK but from across, Europe, Asia and America.”
A statement from the AAT speaks of “Years of London property purchases by the super-rich from Russia, China, America and various other countries” who are now also buying in “Liverpool, Manchester and other parts of the UK.”
It goes on to claim that “middle income earners from across the world, especially China, Malaysia and Singapore, are finding UK property an increasingly attractive proposition – even more so since the weakness of sterling following Brexit.”
The association says other EU nations already impose restrictions on overseas property investors - it cites Poland, Denmark and Hungary - while it says non-EU nations including Iceland, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore prevent, restrict or tax overseas property investment.