Stamp duty could be suspended in bid to boost UK economy post-lockdown

6 July 2020, 20:38

Mr Sunak is due to announce the plans on Wednesday as part of several measures to help the British economy
Mr Sunak is due to announce the plans on Wednesday as part of several measures to help the British economy. Picture: Getty

By Matt Drake

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has drawn up plans to exempt most homebuyers from paying stamp duty in a bid to boost the UK economy post-lockdown, it has been reported.

The Times reported that the Chancellor would outline plans this week to raise the threshold at which people start paying stamp duty from £125,000 to as high as £500,000.

The increase in the threshold is expected to be implemented in the autumn budget and is designed as a temporary measure to stimulate the housing market.

Mr Sunak is due to announce the plans on Wednesday as part of several measures to help the British economy which is forecast to be hit with a significant recession as a result of the shutdown.

Housing stocks helped drive the London markets into positive territory as traders optimistically welcomed speculation over a stamp duty holiday.

The FTSE 100 closed 128.64 points higher at 6,285.94p at the end of trading on Monday.

Investors in the sector were also buoyed by new data which revealed that construction industry activity rebounded to growth in June following the phased reopening of building work.

The latest closely followed IHS Markit/CIPS construction purchasing managers' index (PMI) showed a reading of 55.3 last month, from 28.9 in May.

The chancellor will also reveal plans to invest more than £100million for traineeships for young people.

Businesses offering the unpaid placements in England will receive a £1,000 bonus per trainee under the £111 million scheme.

It comes as new data from the Centre for Retail Research revealed more than 24,000 jobs have already been lost at high street retailers in the first half of 2020, while almost 32,000 positions are still at risk of being permanently axed if more stores close.

Economic advisers to George Osborne, David Cameron, Theresa May, Philip Hammond and Sajid Javid have set out a plan for the UK's recovery from coronavirus which includes a national debt restructuring agency and an unprecedented skills and jobs package.

Mr Sunak must be prepared to focus his full efforts on jobs as the extraordinary nature of the pandemic demands an "urgent" response, the former No 10 and Treasury advisers wrote in a report published on Monday for think tank Onward.

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