Labour accuses Sunak of £1.3bn ‘bung’ to landlords

Labour is calling on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to reverse what it describes as a £1.3 billion “bung” to second homeowners and landlords in his coronavirus recovery package.

Most buyers will pay no stamp duty on the first £500,000 of their purchase between July 15 and March 31 as part of Mr Sunak’s emergency measures to boost the ailing economy.

But Labour accused the Government of having “snuck out” a plan to extend a reduction to owners of buy-to-let properties, holiday homes and other second properties.

Shadow housing secretary Thangam Debbonaire said: “It is unacceptable that the Chancellor tried to sneak out this huge bung to second homeowners and landlords while many are desperate for support.

“He should be targeting support to those who need it, not helping people invest in buy-to-let properties and holiday homes.

“An unnecessary subsidy for second homeowners will only worsen the housing crisis by reducing the supply of homes overall.”

Mr Sunak ordered the stamp duty threshold be raised from £125,000 to £500,000 where it is paid in England and Northern Ireland.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak
Chancellor Rishi Sunak (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The move also applies to those buying additional properties, though they will still have to pay the additional higher rate which starts at 3% for those homes.

Ms Debbonaire wrote to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, who is under fire for unlawful approval of a Conservative Party donor’s development, demanding the “tax break for second homeowners” is reversed.

She argued that the cost of the measure would be £1.3 billion and the funds should instead be used to cover the £1.2 billion funding shortfall estimated by local councils.

Experts have also said the scheme will benefit homeowners in London and the South East of England the most.

Conservative Party co-chairman Amanda Milling said: “It beggars belief that Labour is against plans to help thousands of families across the country.

“Our plans mean 90% of people getting on or moving up the property ladder will pay no stamp duty at all.

“Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour will turn whichever way the wind blows. They say different things from one day to the next to try and score political points and chase headlines.”

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