Stamp duty changes investigated

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The new Chancellor, Sajid Javid, has dismissed a front page story run by The Times that he is considering a change to Stamp Duty by switching the payment from buyers to sellers.

The Times reported at the weekend that it is one of several tax changes that the former Secretary of State for Housing is considering. The Times, known as the paper of record, ran the story under a strong headline, which more than suggested that the change to Stamp Duty was a given: “Sellers to pay Stamp Duty under Javid tax shake-up.” However, the front page story and accompanying interview did not seem to back up the headline, with Javid only saying, apparently of Stamp Duty: “I’m looking at various options. I’m a low tax guy. I want to see simpler taxes.”

The story led to a huge amount of discussion and speculation on social media, including on Javid’s own twitter account. Over the weekend Javid  tweeted in response: “More speculation about Stamp Duty this morning. To be clear, I never said to @thetimes I was planning to put it on sellers. I wouldn’t support that. I know from @mhclg that we need bold measures on housing – but this isn’t one of them.”

Javid was appointed to the post by new prime minister Boris Johnson who said during the Tory leadership campaign that he would cut the highest rate of Stamp Duty from 12% to 7%, hinting that he might cut it altogether for properties under £500,000, and would consider reversing the tax burden from buyers to sellers. However a switch now seems to have been decisively ruled out by the Chancellor.