Miliband tax break for new buyers

Published: Monday 27th April 2015 by The News Editor

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First-time buyers will be offered a tax break worth up to £5,000 by Ed Miliband today in the latest pitch to break the continued deadlock in the General Election campaign.

The main parties have just 10 days to secure a decisive advantage and Labour is pinning its hopes on a fresh appeal to young people struggling to get on the housing ladder.

Mr Miliband will unveil plans to exempt anyo ne paying up to £300,000 for their first home from stamp duty for three years – a £225 million-a-year pledge the party said would be paid for by squeezing tax-avoiding landlords and wealthy property investors.

As the final full week of campaigning gets under way with neither main party on course for an overall majority, the Conservatives’ renewed focus on the economy was boosted by the public endorsement of the bosses of 5,000 small companies.

In an open letter to the Daily Telegraph the business leaders – said to employ nearly 100,000 people between them, said they “would like to see David Cameron and George Osborne given the chance to finish what they have started”.

Mr Cameron – who yesterday delivered an impassioned riposte to critics who suggested he has failed to convey a positive vision during the campaign so far – will set out planned help for firms and accuse Labour of “sneering at small business”.

But the Prime Minister was delivered a rebuke from one of the parties that could play a pivotal role in the formation of any administration in the event of a hung parliament.

The Democratic Unionist Party leader at Westminster, Nigel Dodds, said he was “alarmed” by elements of the party’s stark campaign over the consequences of the SNP propping up a Labour government.

In one of the most controversial salvoes, Home Secretary Theresa May told the Mail on Sunday that a Labour/SNP administration would ” raise difficult questions about legitimacy” and be “the biggest constitutional crisis since the abdication”.

Writing in the Guardian, Mr Dodds agreed that the SNP was “not politicians set on stability and good government” but condemned any attempt to question the legitimacy of a government they supported.

“This is where the campaign south of the border has so alarmed me,” he said, in an echo of concerns aired by a number of senior Conservative figures.

“Glib and lazy talk about SNP MPs somehow not being as entitled to vote in every division in the Commons, as any other British MP, simply fuels nationalist paranoia.”

Attacking Tory plans to introduce England-only votes – plugged by the party as a defence against SNP influence – he said: ” It’s the union parliament, and abusing it in this way wouldn’t and couldn’t answer England’s real needs.”

In an apparent dig at the sustained focus on the SNP, he wrote: “Since it would be in the interests neither of the country nor any other party to intentionally talk up the SNP, we can assume this hasn’t been happening.

“No one committed to the union would deliberately do that. Obviously while we want a stable and secure government to emerge in the next parliament no stability can come from any conscious effort to ramp up the numbers of anti-UK MPs.”

Under its plans to address the housing shortage, Labour will change planning laws to introduce a “first call” policy that would give first time buyers who have lived in an area for more than three years priority on up to half of local new homes.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the stamp duty holiday would help people “save money that can instead be put towards a deposit and all the other costs that mount up when you buy a home”.

Buyers currently pay no stamp duty on the first £125,000 of a home’s value and are then charged on a sliding scale, starting with 2% on the next £125,000 and 5% on the following £675,000.

It would be funded by reducing landlord tax avoidance by £100 million, increasing the annual tax on enveloped dwellings held by firms and hitting buyers from outside the European Union with a hike in their stamp duty bills of at least 3%.

Tax relief for landlords to cover the upkeep of furnished properties would also be reduced for rogue landlords that rent out sub-standard properties.

Liberal Democrats will take their pitch for votes on May 7 to the scene of a famous 2013 by-election triumph in a signal of intent to fight 60 seats in the same manner that saw them hold Eastleigh against the odds.

“Every held and target seat is being fought like a by-election. In Eastleigh we proved something we have always known: we know how to hold on against all challengers and all the odds,” Nick Clegg will tell activists.

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett will pledge to cap rent increases in line with inflation – a day after Labour promised to prevent any real-terms rises over the course of new three-year tenancies.

Published: Monday 27th April 2015 by The News Editor

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