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Stamp Duty Holiday slammed for not helping “levelling up”

The Guardian has sharply criticised Chancellor Rishi Sunak for introducing and then extending the stamp duty holiday - because helping estate agents is not part of what the paper sees as the government’s “levelling up” agenda.

In a piece by economic editor Larry Elliott the newspaper says that yesterday’s revelation that there was a 63 per cent fall in housing transactions in July shows exactly how big an effect the stamp duty holiday had, ahead of its main impact ending in late June.

“Extending the stamp duty holiday for a further six months in this year’s budget has compounded a policy blunder that has resulted in prices rising by £2,500 a month on average over the past year, pushing home ownership further out of reach for Generation Rent and exacerbating Britain’s intergenerational divide” writes Elliott.

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He says there were already factors that were likely to push up house prices - a large population, low mortgage rates and tough planning laws, not to mention pent-up demand following the 2020 spring housing market closure.

“It was obvious the market was going to take off even without a helping hand from the Chancellor” he insists.

And he concludes: “The government is ostensibly committed to levelling up. It’s hard to square that with a scheme whose major beneficiaries are estate agents, big builders and the already comfortably off.”

You can read the full piece here.

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