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Scrap stamp duty cliff edge ‘to help people stick to Covid guidelines’

The government needs to step in to rescue two valuable property incentives before they expire at the end of March, a leading tax and advisory firm claims. 

Heather Powell, a partner and head of property at Blick Rothenberg, says: “There are two government incentives which face a cliff edge - the Help to Buy scheme and Stamp Duty relief - which end or change significantly at the end of March. And if the government doesn't step in home buyers could lose the homes they reserved months ago."

She adds: “The problem is that despite the fact that Covid cases are falling construction workers are receiving texts that they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive and that they should self-isolate for 10 days. The results of this are that house building is being seriously delayed and many homes could be delayed beyond March 31.

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“Whilst no one would question the need to comply with the instruction the government needs to consider the law of unintended consequences and take appropriate action to protect the position of the innocent.” 

Powell warns that buyers who will not be eligible for help To Buy from April 1 will then have to find alternative financing for the home they reserved many months ago.  

When the loss of the stamp duty relief is added in - a maximum of £15,000 - many may lose their homes as a result of businesses and individuals complying with the government rules on self-isolation, she claims.

Powell concludes: “The government needs to step in and agree that all buyers in this position that are currently eligible for the Help To Buy support and the stamp duty relief, even if their purchase completes after April 1, giving peace of mind to all buyers in this position, and ensuring that no one is tempted to flout the pandemic isolation rules.”

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