'Nothing' in budget for first-time buyers

26 March 2007
First-time buyers were left high and dry by Gordon Brown's budget, industry insiders have claimed.

People hoping to step onto the property ladder "will continue to face affordability concerns", the Council of Mortgage Lenders warned.

"On the face of today's announcement there is nothing that is targeted at first-time buyers," CML spokesman Bernard Clarke said.

Mr Brown came in for particularly sharp criticism for failing to raise the £125,000 threshold for the lower band of stamp duty, which exacts one per cent in tax from homeowners.

Stamp duty "is becoming a classic stealth tax, particularly for first-time buyers," Martin Smith, financial services director of Clyde property firm in Scotland, told the Herald.

"If it had been raised in line with inflation it would be nearer £170,000," he added.

According to recent research from Scottish Widows, 42 per cent of first-time buyers in London now pay over £150,000 for their first home.

"Chancellor Gordon Brown has wasted a golden opportunity to help thousands of Britons onto the housing ladder by steadfastly refusing to trim stamp duty," concluded David Kuo of Fool.co.uk.

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