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London Housing Commission calls for stamp duty to be devolved
Powers for setting certain taxes – including stamp duty – should be devolved to the Mayor of London, it has been suggested.
The London Housing Commission has argued that whoever takes power at city hall following the upcoming elections should be pressing the Government for a new devolution settlement.
Lord Bob Kerslake, who heads up the commission, argued that the Mayor should be given responsibility to set stamp duty and charge extra council tax on properties that were left empty or were classed as second homes.
The Peer said it was “abundantly clear” that the increased responsibilities should be made available to help address the chronic shortage of housing in the capital.
It is thought that the devolution of stamp duty could follow a similar model to the one that the Chancellor, George Osborne, has previously suggested for handing over responsibility for business rates to the UK’s local authorities.
Under these arrangements London would be allowed to retain a significant share of the income in exchange for an equivalent cut in grants. The Mayor would also have the ability to adjust rates in consultation with business groups.
Jeremy Blackburn, head of policy at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), welcomed the proposal.
“Given the failure of central government to deliver enough genuinely affordable new homes, a move to devolve powers and responsibility to front-line local authorities will help solve some of the issues that are currently blocking the supply.”
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