St Albans MP Anne Main led a Houses of Parliament debate on "absurd" stamp duty land tax yesterday - which she claims is preventing city residents from moving home.
The debate was the first time in recent history that Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), dubbed by Anne the 'postcode tax’, has been considered by Members of Parliament outside of its legislative context.
Anne said the tax is a strong contender for the UK’s worst-designed tax since the relevant rate applies to the full sale price.
In St Albans a person of average means who moves home four times may expect to incur a total Stamp duty spend of £64,830 over a lifetime.
With the current average wage in St Albans £37,440 per annum, that’s nearly two whole years’ pay just to move house.
St Albans residents pay 34 percent of their disposable income on their mortgage payment, compared to 28 percent of the UK’s average.
Speaking after the debate, Anne said: "I am pleased we could finally debate stamp duty as a single issue. Local estate agents in St Albans have told me that the tax is distorting the market as buyers look to avoid paying the tax if the price is near a band threshold.
"The average house price in St Albans is now over £450,000 and everyone in St Albans has been sucked in to paying this postcode tax.
"It’s outrageous that key workers, including public sector workers, are finding it increasingly difficult to live in my constituency and have to save for long periods to hand over a massive lump of cash to the Exchequer.
"Doubtless SDLT revenues have rocketed in recent months and years, however, there is now a wealth of evidence to suggest that if the rates were to be reformed, Government revenues would not be hurt, meaning the Chancellor would still be able to continue filling the black hole in the nations finances.
Anne said she was disappointed not to see any Labour or Liberal Democrat backbench MP’s in attendance.
She added: "I am pleased to be leading a campaign for a fairer tax system, and will continue to lobby hard on this issue. Home-buyers in St Albans and across the country are sick of being stamped on by the postcode tax."