Autumn Statement: Stamp duty reforms and VAT refund for hospices praised

Chancellor George Osborne. [Picture: Oli Scarff/Getty Images]

Chancellor George Osborne. [Picture: Oli Scarff/Getty Images] - Credit: Getty Images

Stamp duty reforms and a review of business rates are among new government measures which will affect residents in Havering.

Chancellor George Osborne announced the plans in his Autumn Statement yesterday, which was the final one before next year’s General Election.

The stamp duty changes, which come into force today, have been praised by MP Andrew Rosindell and Martin Gibbons, group director of Balgores Property Group, which has offices in Romford, Hornchurch and Upminster.

Under the old rules, buyers had to pay a single rate of tax on the entire price of the property.

This meant if someone bought a house for £185,000, they would pay one per cent tax on the full amount – a total of £1,850.

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Now rates will only apply to the part of the property price which falls within each band when it is bought.

For example, no stamp duty will be paid on the first £125,000 of a property and two pc will be paid on the portion up to £250,000.

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Mr Gibbons said: “The change is great news for home movers, especially first-time buyers, who will make significant savings.”

Romford MP Mr Rosindell added: “I’m delighted homebuyers will be able to buy a property without paying huge amounts of stamp duty.

“It’s good news for anybody wanting to buy a new home.”

Saint Francis Hospice is set to benefit from the government’s VAT refund for hospices.

Pam Court, the charity’s CEO, said it is estimated that the measure will save the charity £85,000 over the next financial year.

She added: “We warmly welcome the Chancellor’s decision. We can use the money to improve services and cater for the increased demand, as the population in the boroughs we serve is growing faster than any increases in NHS funding we receive.”

Dame Angela Watkinson, MP for Hornchurch and Upminster, praised measures such as the review of business rates and the cut in air passenger duty for children.

She said: “Providing this help for taxpayers and small businesses is a remarkable achievement at a time while the country is still having to pay back the largest debt in living memory.”

However, Labour’s MP for Rainham and Dagenham, Jon Cruddas, said the government has “failed every test and broken every promise” on the economy.

“They promised living standards would rise, but while millionaires have got a huge tax cut, working people are now £1,600 a year worse off under the Tories.

“Because he [George Osborne] has failed to deliver rising living standards, he has now borrowed £219billion more than he planned in his Parliament.”

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