Chancellor using “water pistol to try to put out a fire”

Measures announced in this year’s Budget will be “largely” ineffective in combating issues faced by the property sector, it has been argued.

Chancellor Alistair Darling has “used a water pistol to try to put out a fire” in attempting to stimulate activity in the housing market, according to Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents.

He noted that the chancellor has failed to scrap the “hated” stamp duty levy on property transactions, adding that many people see this as a “tax on aspiration”.

And he stated that while the introduction of the Homeowner Mortgage Support Scheme is to be welcomed, it has taken too long to be implemented.

This has resulted in thousands of home loans borrowers seeing their houses repossessed in the meantime, Mr Bolton King claimed.

Elsewhere, HSBC hailed the extension to stamp duty tax breaks for property sales of £175,000 or under, commenting that it is positive news for first-time buyers.

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