Forking out for Stamp Duty tax as yet one more added cost when you sell up and move home is never a popular activity.
So, the new campaign spearheaded by estate agents John D Wood & Co to stamp out this unpopular levy in these troubled times is bound to be supported by homeowners and agents alike.
Stamping out stamp duty until 2012, when the property market gets back on its feet again, has been proposed by John D Wood & Co’s managing director, Peter Young.
‘As someone who has been selling property for more than 30 years, it occurred to me that with property transactions falling from 1.3 million in 2007 to 600,000 in 2008, with the forecast for 2009 just over 400,000, this could be a good way to kick-start the entire process,’ he says.
Mr Young’s theory is that as Stamp Duty – typically ranging from 1% on a £125,000 home to 4% on £500,000 – is the largest cost when you move house, then having an amnesty for a few years should encourage people to relocate to new jobs in new parts of the country.
‘When you move house, you generally spend money on various items. You get a new carpet, patio door or a kitchen and hire tradesmen to re-wire or replumb, which also stimulates the economy.’
Only a couple of days since the campaign launched, 750 people have signed up already to the Stamp out Stamp Duty petition lodged on the Number 10 website – an extraordinary number, reflecting how people feel about this unfair tax, believes Mr Young.
‘Even if people don’t plan to move immediately, they should get into the frame and sign the petition,’ he urges. ‘In the current climate, you just don’t know what you or your children will be doing in a year’s time.’
Considering the Government raised £6.5 billion during 2006-2007 from Stamp Duty on the sales of residential homes, it is debatable whether this amount of revenue will be cut enthusiastically from public coffers.
But examining the enthusiastic response to Mr Young’s campaign so far, perhaps politicians might be forced into listening to the public’s views about this detested – and many say iniquitous – tax.
To sign the Stamp out Stamp Duty petition, visit http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/suspendstampduty
To contact Mr Young, telephone him on 020–7908 1117 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org