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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Stamp duty overhaul under attack

Chancellor George Osborne is under attack by critics who claim his recent stamp duty overhaul which has hit property sales and slashed revenues from the tax.

Last December, the Chancellor hiked stamp duty costs on properties worth £1 million or more, while lowering the burden for cheaper homes.

There are growing signs this has led to a sharp slowdown in the prime central London property market.

The overhaul has also cut the Treasury's stamp duty tax take by hundreds of millions of pounds.

England and Wales saw just 462,000 property sales in the seven months after the new stamp duty rules were introduced in December, according to Land Registry figures.

That compares to 569,000 in the preceding seven months and 506,000 in the same period in the previous year.

Critics argue the changes have hit house sales at the top end of the market but failed to boost them elsewhere, according to a report in yesterday's Mail on Sunday.

Estate agents in Britain’s most expensive locations in Central London have warned that sales are stalling.

Critics of the stamp duty changes include prominent Conservatives, including Treasury Select Committee member Jacob Rees-Mogg MP.

He said the policy was ‘playing to the politics of envy’ but was ‘just bad economics’ that hit the smooth working of the market and cut Government income at a time when it is trying to reduce the deficit. 

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