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Chancellor urged to extend FTB stamp duty holiday

Chancellor urged to extend FTB stamp duty holiday

Category: Money

Updated: 24/11/2011
First Published: 24/11/2011

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

The Government has been urged to extend the current stamp duty holiday for first time buyers beyond its current end date of March next year.

The call has come from the Building Societies Association (BSA) ahead of the Chancellor's Autumn Statement to be delivered next week.

While welcoming the Government's new build indemnity scheme, announced earlier this week, the association has told George Osborne not to forget the thousands of other aspiring homeowners who will not benefit from the scheme.

At present, first time buyers purchasing properties up to the value of £250,000 are exempt from having to pay stamp duty.

However, as the 24 March 2012 end date for the initiative approaches, the BSA warned the reinstatement of the tax would 'provide an additional disincentive to aspiring home owners and an unnecessary brake on an already troubled market'.

Help has also been urged for those having difficulty paying their mortgage by making a 'simple change' to the current 'Support for Mortgage Interest' scheme.

Under the BSA's plans, the rate of interest paid to borrowers in difficulty would be de-linked from the Bank of England's published Annual Mortgage Rate and instead reflect the actual rate of interest payable on the mortgage.

"Similarly it is illogical that this assistance is currently available only in relation to first charge mortgages when consumers could lose their homes as a result of other loans secured on their property," the BSA added.

Meanwhile, the association has not forgotten the plight of savers either, who have been suffering from the perfect storm of a low base rate coupled with high inflation and volatile stock markets.

In order to help savers safeguard their savings, the BSA wants the ISA rules changed so that people can move their money from stocks and shares to cash without having to use up their tax-free allowance.

While transfers in adult ISAs are only allowed in one direction at present - from cash to stocks and shares, the BSA wants to see the rules aligned with those of the new Junior ISA which allows transfers in both directions.

"Recent innovations to help a section of the population buy their own home are welcome, but let's not forget about the thousands of other aspiring homeowners, those borrowers feeling the pinch and the millions of savers out there," said BSA director-general, Adrian Coles.

"Government obviously has limited budget available and considerable calls on it.

"However, some simple changes, plus certainty and consistency in some areas, would do much to improve consumer sentiment for the year ahead."

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