Scrap stamp duty for pensioners to free up homes for youngsters, says thinktank

Harry Robertson
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Policy Exchange highlights the number of homes with spare bedrooms (Source: Getty)

A UK thinktank has called for the government to scrap stamp duty for pensioners to encourage downsizing and free up homes for younger families.

Policy Exchange’s new report reveals that 1.1m homes in England with two or more spare bedrooms are lived in by a single person aged over 65.

The report says the lower stamp duty band, which sees a two per cent tax levied on properties priced between £125,000 and £250,000, should be got rid of for “older people”, although it does not specify an exact age.

The think tank argues that the current system discourages older people outside London and the south east, where property prices have boomed, from selling their property to buy a smaller one.

Housing has become a key political issue, with widespread talk of a “crisis”. In 2017, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the scrapping of stamp duty for first-time buyers on homes up to £500,000.

Jack Airey, the author of the report, said the recommended changes would allow older people to “draw down their housing equity, releasing money for retirement, and saving money by moving to a home which is easier and cheaper to maintain.”