OPINION

Stamp duty holiday will help Brighton businesses

Posted On 07 Aug 2020 at 2:25 pm

Many people have criticised the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s stamp duty holiday for including second home owners and investors.

And while this appears to have been an oversight on the part of the government, the critics should think more deeply about this decision.

A 3 per cent stamp duty surcharge on those who already own a home remains, meaning the government will still receive much-needed revenues to help pay for schemes like furlough.

But the Chancellor’s decision also invites investment in the wider industry, which will save thousands of ancillary businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs across the United Kingdom.

Housebuilder supply chains – from solicitors, surveyors and estate agents to kitchen fitters, plumbers and curtain makers – will all benefit from this scheme.

This is especially so because investors will be the ones who will be the most likely to part with their money.

Hundreds of occupations will win more work so, while on the surface it may seem like an unequal giveaway, the wider benefit to our economy will be huge.

In Brighton and Hove, this decision will prove invaluable because we have more than 13,000 small businesses in the city.

A quick look at yell.com suggests that within a five-miles radius, we have 32 curtain and soft furnishing companies, more than 100 estate agent offices, kitchen fitters and plumbers, and more than a dozen insulation specialists.

They are all able to help new buyers and old to spend the recently announced £5,000 Green Homes Grant.

The stamp duty holiday will also help our city’s priced out first-time buyers by incentivising upsizing and bringing forward lower end market homes.

We have also seen some investors selling their stock – and many will be waiting until the market dips a little more until they invest again, giving Brightonians a much-needed window to find their perfect home.

The council must treat this as an opportunity and plough on with its housebuilding ambitions to ensure more homes are built – by the council and by private developers – before this holiday period ends at the end of March next year.

Rico Wojtulewicz is a housing policy specialist and stood as a candidate in Hove in the local elections last year.

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