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What do you want to see in the Budget?

It could be judgement day for the chancellor Alistair darling when he reveals his first Budget on Wednesday. Brokers and lenders will be keeping a close eye on the changes, particularly if they involve Stamp Duty.

Mortgage Strategy has been campaigning for the government to Step Up Stamp Duty since 2004. And the magazine is not alone, we discovered when we asked the industry…

Richard Farr, director, Association of Mortgage Intermediaries
Stamp Duty thresholds have not risen in line with property prices. We would like to see this addressed in the Budget.

Given the difficulties faced by many first-time buyers, we’d also welcome discussions about exempting them from the tax.

Bernard Clarke, spokesman, Council of Mortgage Lenders
Action on Stamp Duty is long overdue. We’d like to see an increase in its threshold to £250,000, at an estimated cost of £1.2bn a year. This would provide a clear signal of the government’s support for first-time buyers.

Jonathan Cornell, managing director, Hamptons Mortgages
I’d like to see the government working with lenders to help fund shared ownership products, so they’d share in the growth in the value of property. We need products like this or first-time buyers will be as dead as a dodo in 12 months’ time.

Angela Knight, chief executive, British Bankers’ Association
For the UK to remain the world’s leading financial centre, the Budget should focus on rebuilding international confidence in it as a place that welcomes business. Failure to act could damage the economy, particularly the global banking industry’s ability to operate from the City.

Steven Marks, lending and operations executive, Newcastle
It’s imperative that the government helps first-time buyers in this year’s Budget. The obvious way to do this is by increasing the threshold for Stamp Duty. We urge the chancellor to reform the tax and offer hope to first-timers.

Gus Park, director of intermediary sales, Mortgage Express
I’d like to see the chancellor announce that Northern Rock will stop offering its government-backed best buy savings rate. It only helps to drive up the costs of lending and therefore makes mortgage products more expensive.

John Mawdlsey, director, The Mortgage Partnership
I’d like to see Alistair Darling announce his resignation – that would certainly increase confidence. But before he goes he should reform Stamp Duty. In fact, it should be scrapped as the government has made enough money from the tax.

Ross Bowen, managing director, Connells Survey & Valuation
In London and the South-East, first-time buyers shoulder a massive Stamp Duty burden of £2,369. We need to reduce the entry costs and burden on this vital group of borrowers. A radical increase in its starting threshold is a must.

Brian Murphy, head of lending, Mortgage Advice Bureau
It is important for first-time buyers that Stamp Duty is reformed. I believe that its threshold should either be raised or the tax should be abolished entirely for first-timers. This would provide a vital boost for the market.

Stuart Law, chief executive, Assetz
The current Stamp Duty threshold offers little reprieve for the majority of struggling first-time buyers. In an attempt to ease their burden, the Budget should make the tax an exit not an entrance fee to the mortgage market.

Nicholas Leeming, major client director,
Stamp Duty is likely to top £7bn this year and has become a major earner for the Treasury. But the burden is far from evenly spread – three London boroughs alone paid more Stamp Duty last year than Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined. The best reform would be to raise its threshold to a sensible level

Roger Morris, managing director, em-financial
There is a lot for the chancellor to do in this Budget. The most pressing thing is that Stamp Duty must be reduced – it’s a stealth tax that’s keeping first-time buyers from getting onto the property ladder and this will have a negative effect on the market.


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