Stamp duty cut for pensioners?

Older people could be given tax breaks to move to a smaller property. The idea - exempting older people from stamp duty when downsizing to a smaller property - is backed by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveryors (RICS) in a new report.

And to encourage the downsizing, new higher rate tax bands could also be part of the deal.

Stamp duty incentive

Exempting those over 65 year who are living in larger properties would help, it's claimed, ease financial pressure on growing families needing bigger accommodation themselves.

Some may argue it's a tax break for the better off, especially if the property is worth a significant sum. (How would the Government deal with those pensioners who own multiple properties?). For some families, potentially, it's also a way to cut their inheritance tax exposure.

The proposals also throw up ideas for relieving the chronic shortage of affordable properties to rent, including a "portable home ownership discount" which could be built up to offset the price of buying another property in the future (though how this would be paid for isn't clear).

Band H +

"I know it is an emotional wrench to move," Michael Newey, president elect of RICS is quoted in the Mirror, "but we are trying to provide incentives for people who are living in a house where they might have brought up their children but is too big for them now."

The introduction of higher rate council tax bands is another idea, lifting the number of council tax bands above the band H for properties worth more than £320,000 in 1991.

400,000 new homes

There's also another issue lurking, still unresolved: planning permission has already been given, it's thought, for 400,000 new UK homes but have yet to be built, despite the chronic housing shortage.

That's because developers are waiting for many plots to rise in value before they build - so called 'land banking'. Labour is threatening "use it or lose it", with new compulsory purchase orders on developers who hold onto the land, a move also given qualified support by Boris Johnson.

7 ways to improve your retirement

7 ways to improve your retirement