Labour accuses Tories of bunging £1.3bn to second home owners in coronavirus recovery package

PUBLISHED: 08:48 10 July 2020 | UPDATED: 08:48 10 July 2020

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivering the summer economic update in a statement to the House of Commons, (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire)

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivering the summer economic update in a statement to the House of Commons, (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire)

Labour has accused the Tories of delivering a £1.3 billion “bung” to second homeowners and landlords in its coronavirus recovery package.

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The opposition urged Rishi Sunak to reverse what it said was an “unnecessary subsidy” after it emerged a stamp duty holiday would be extended to the purchasers of holiday homes and buy-to-let properties.

As part of Sunak’s emergency measures announced on Wednesday, most homebuyers in England and Northern Ireland will not pay stamp duty on the first £500,000 of their purchase between July 15 and March 31.

However, Labour said the Treasury had later “slipped out” an announcement that it would cover purchases of second homes - although they will still be liable to the additional higher rate which starts at 3%.

Shadow housing secretary Thangam Debbonaire said the cost to the taxpayer could be up to £1.3 billion and that the money could be far better spent plugging the gap in local government finances.


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“It is unacceptable that the chancellor tried to sneak out this huge bung to second homeowners and landlords while many are desperate for support,” she said.

“He should be targeting support to those who need it, not helping people invest in buy-to-let properties and holiday homes.

“An unnecessary subsidy for second homeowners will only worsen the housing crisis by reducing the supply of homes overall.”

Conservative Party co-chairman Amanda Milling, however, dismissed the claims, saying Labour had no plan for the economy.

“It beggars belief that Labour is against plans to help thousands of families across the country,” she said.

“Our plans mean 90% of people getting on or moving up the property ladder will pay no stamp duty at all.

“Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour will turn whichever way the wind blows. They say different things from one day to the next to try and score political points and chase headlines.”

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