The Government has been urged to raise the threshold for stamp duty in order to aid the recovery of the housing market. In its Budget submission to the Treasury, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) called for the higher stamp duty bands to be scrapped and for the threshold for the 1% band to be raised to £250,000, pending a full review of the tax that it says creates distortion and inefficiency. "If the measures fail, the authorities will at least have made a determined attempt to mitigate market conditions," said the CML. "If they succeed, and property sales stabilise or increase, the cost to the government may be less than expected and a higher number of transactions would support other measures to underpin the wider economy." Also suggested in the submission are the extension and simplification of low-cost home ownership schemes and the widening of the access to both income support for mortgage interest and mortgage rescue.
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