16,000 first-time buyers saved money after stamp duty reforms, Government says

Stamp duty reforms announced in the autumn Budget have saved thousands of pounds for more than 16,000 first-time buyers, according to the Government.

The changes announced in November mean a stamp duty cut for 95% of all first-time buyers who pay it and no stamp duty at all for 80% of first-time buyers, with savings of up to £5,000.

Prime Minister Theresa May will be in Wokingham, Berkshire, on Wednesday to meet people who have benefited from the changes.

Ahead of the visit, Mrs May said: "I have made it my personal mission to build the homes this country needs so we can restore the dream of home ownership for people up and down the UK.

"In the autumn we set out ambitious plans to fix the broken housing market and make sure young people have the same opportunities as their parents' generation to own their own home.

"This has had an immediate impact, with thousands of people already making savings thanks to our stamp duty cut, and over a million first-time buyers over the next five years are expected to save money that they can put towards a deposit, solicitors' fees or furniture."

She added: "We are building a Britain that is fit for the future and our message to the next generation is this - getting on - and climbing up - the housing ladder is not just a dream of your parents' past, but a reality for your future."

In the autumn Budget the Government abolished stamp duty altogether for first-time buyer purchases up to £300,000, and made this relief available for the first £300,000 of properties worth up to £500,000, providing help for people in higher value areas.

The Government claims that 16,000 first-time buyers have already saved thousands of pounds since the changes took effect and more than a million first-time buyers are set to benefit in total over the next five years.

It said the change builds on the steps already taken to help young people enter the housing market, including the Help to Buy scheme and introduction of Lifetime Isas.

Labour's shadow housing secretary John Healey said the Government's policy on stamp duty would just drive up prices.

He added: "Cutting stamp duty without the increase in affordable house-building that Labour has promised will only drive up prices, rather than help the millions of young people who want to buy a home of their own.

"The number of young home-owners is in free-fall but under the Tories the number of new low-cost homes for first-time buyers has halved and not a single one of the 200,000 'starter homes' promised has been built.

"After almost eight years of Conservative failure on housing, homelessness has doubled, home-ownership has fallen to a 30-year low and the number of new social rented homes is at the lowest level since records began.

"It's clear Theresa May has no plan to fix the country's housing crisis."

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