Friday, 16 January 2015

Ed Balls gives way

Last week in the Commons I had the delight of intervening on the Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls:
Guy Opperman:
Will the shadow Chancellor give way?
Ed Balls:
In a second. Actually, go on; let’s get it over with.
Guy Opperman:
I did not want to disrupt the shadow Chancellor’s flow, because I know he is easily distracted. Is it not because of the Chancellor’s support for the north-east by way of city deals, manufacturing and business support that the north-east now has the fastest rate of growth in private sector business in the autumn quarter, and the highest rate of growth in exports? Surely that is evidence that this economy has been turned around by a Chancellor who cares about business and manufacturing?
Ed Balls:
Maybe we could form a consensus on the way forward on devolution for the regions—I am in favour of that and so is the hon. Gentleman—and that is not the only thing we could form a consensus on, because this is what he told ConservativeHome just recently: “A bit of extra tax on properties over £2 million seems perfectly fair to me.” I am with him all the way. Maybe we should get together on that one as well—you shouldn’t have let that one through, George!

Sadly for the Shadow Chancellor the Coalition Government has already acted on my calls for reform of property taxes.

I was very clear in 2012 that we needed reform of property taxes, especially Stamp Duty.

I said at the time in my article for ConservativeHome: 'I would propose the tax would be paid only when a property is sold – becoming a mansion sales tax, in many ways what Stamp Duty was always designed for.'

I was therefore very pleased to see the Chancellor put Stamp Duty reform at the heart of his 2014 Autumn Statement.

The Treasury's figures show someone now buying a property worth £2.1m would pay £18,750 more stamp duty compared with the old system.
At the same time the Chancellor was able to cut stamp duty for 98% of homebuyers who pay it.
Those reforms have answered my calls and ensured Stamp Duty is fairer, and now doing what it was originally designed for - as well as helping to save the average home buyer more money.

Under the new rules, no tax will be paid on the first £125,000 of a property, followed by 2% on the portion up to £250,000, 5% on the portion between £250,000 and £925,000, 10% on the next bit up to £1.5 million and 12% on everything over that.