Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

PS3BN STAMP DUTY BILL FOR LONDON; Westminster Pays More Than Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined'Allow London to Use Cash Raised by Stamp Duty'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

PS3BN STAMP DUTY BILL FOR LONDON; Westminster Pays More Than Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined'Allow London to Use Cash Raised by Stamp Duty'

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Prynn Consumer Business Editor

THE huge stamp duty burden on London home buyers spiralled to a record PS3 billion last year following a major shake-up of the tax by George Osborne.

Londoners now pay more than 40 per cent of the total stamp duty collected in the UK with one borough alone -- Westminster -- contributing more than Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland put together, official figures revealed today.

The huge Treasury raid comes at a time of acute housing shortages in the capital, prompting Mayor Boris Johnson to call for the stamp duty receipts to be ring-fenced and spent on affordable housing.

The 11 per cent increase to PS3.03 billion comes after a series of sharp rises in stamp duty rates since 1997, culminating in the dramatic reforms unveiled by the Chancellor in last December's autumn statement. These raised rates for properties worth more than PS937,000, most of which are in London and the South-East.

The reforms also abolished the hated "slab" system of stamp duty, which reduced the cost for millions of first-time buyers around the country but focused the tax even more intensely on London.

The shake-up means that the sale of the most expensive home currently on the market in London, a PS100 million mansion in Belgravia, would raise almost PS12 million stamp duty for the Treasury -- more than the whole of Liverpool, a city of almost half a million people. The figures show that buyers in Westminster paid PS487 million in stamp duty in Continued on Page 4 Continued from Page 1 the financial year to April, followed by Kensington & Chelsea on PS451 million and Wandsworth with PS180 million.

A spokesman for the Mayor said: "Today's figures are further evidence that stamp duty is a tax on London, with the capital paying the highest proportion on record, with almost twice the receipts than the next highest region, the South-East. …

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