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Chancellor will extend stamp duty holiday, predicts leading economics expert

David Smith of The Sunday Times tells conference that stamp duty cliff-face runs risk of causing an adverse reaction in housing market before economy has recovered.

Nigel Lewis

smith stamp duty

A leading economics commentator has predicted that the government will extend the looming stamp duty cliff-face as Coronavirus continues to wrack the economy.

David Smith, who has been the Sunday Times economics editor since 1989 and has called several other policy changes by government in the past, says that Chancellor Rishi Sunak will modify his flagship Covid survival policy before it ends on 31st March.

Speaking at a landlord conference, he said: “The government is still pretty serious about supporting the housing market and as we have seen not afraid of doing U-turns or extensions,” he said.

“If we’re still only groggily emerging from the winter during which Covid cases have been quite high then under those circumstances I can quite easily envisage the Chancellor extending the current stamp duty regime for a bit longer.

Adverse reaction

“If there are enough warnings that the re-imposition of the old stamp duty regime will product a very advert reaction in the housing market I think it will be relatively cheap for him to extend it say for another six months.

“It’s one reason to be reasonably optimistic about the housing market.”

Smith’s comments were made before yesterday’s announcement by Pfizer that it has concluded successful trials of a Covid vaccine.

Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer for England, said that the “huge milestone” would prevent a third wave of infections and also mean the UK could begin “heading toward normality” by the time the stamp duty cut-off date arrives.

November 10, 2020

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