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Boris Johnson takes swipe at stamp duty

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson has aimed his sights at the housing market, insisting that stamp duty should be cut to prevent developers forming an oligopoly.

Writing in his weekly Telegraph column, he stated that the housing shortage is the country’s “biggest and most important issue,” bemoaning the fact that in ten years, the number of 25 to 34 year-olds who own a home in Britain has dropped from 64 per cent to 39 per cent.

“This is meant to be Britain, the great homeowning democracy, but we now have lower rates of owner-occupation, for the under-40s, than France and Germany.

“That is a disgrace; and you can’t expect young people to be automatically sympathetic to capitalism when they find it so tough to acquire capital themselves,” he wrote.

On what’s stopping first-time buyers from getting on the ladder, he said: “Tax is freezing whole chains of purchases as people are deterred from trading up, with the result that older people are staying in houses that are too big for their needs and younger families don’t get a look in.”

He also accused property developers of benefiting from the status quo by not moving forward on the 500,000 or so permissions to build currently on developers’ books.

“They have the land, they plainly have the cash, and it is time they used both to build the homes the country needs – and not wall up cats while they are at it,” he said.

He also took aim at Labour, saying: “We need to tell Lefties like Sadiq Khan to stop their ideological obsession with quotas for affordable housing on each development.”

“The reason the last Tory mayoralty (of pious memory) outbuilt Labour is that we imposed no such constraint – with the result that we got more housing built of all kinds,” he concluded.

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