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Stamp duty concerns differ between regions

24 May 2006
Regional disparities in house prices mean that the 'slab' system used to determine stamp duty in the UK is outdated and in need of reform, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

In his March budget, Chancellor Gordon Brown increased the minimum threshold from £120,000 to £125,000, a move that was largely discounted by the financial sector as making little difference to most people because of the massive rises in the housing market.

Rising thresholds are also largely meaningless without a reformed system anyway, the CML claims.

"We have been calling for reform for some time, from a slab to a graduated system," claimed the CML's Christopher Dean.

"Last year 56,000 homes became eligible for stamp duty due to house price rises," he continued. "[A graduated system] would be a much fairer way of doing things [because] a rise in the threshold of £5,000 in London isn't going to make a massive difference."

Analysts hope that continued pressure from financial observers and lobbyists will eventually force a comprehensive review of the system, which many groups, the CML included, hope will mean a reformation and overhaul of the current "unfair" system.

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