I've woken up to the radio news telling me that Alistair Darling plans to scrap Stamp Duty on all house sales under £250,000. I was under the impression that the details of the budget were meant to remain secret until the actual budget announcement is made. In 1947 the then Chancellor Hugh Dalton resigned because he had let slip a small detail of the budget.
I may sound like some old duffer who just doesn't accept the the modern media is different and more demanding than in the past, but I think that these things are important.
Imagine you are about to exchange contracts on a home which is a little under the £250,000 threshold. On hearing this morning's news you might want to delay to save yourself the Stamp Duty, who would want to spend (soon to be unnecessary) tax? The whole chain could collapse and a number of people could be in reciept of a great deal of cost, inconvenience and stress.
How do you think those people would feel if the actual budget announcement said that the Stamp Duty changes would take place on the 1st of September or after the General Election? Imagine that some other element of the budget linked to house sales was also announced and our home buyers actually found themselves worse off by delaying.
The budget should be announced in one go so that all the elements can be viewed together. This selective and edited leaking of elements is wrong and should be ditched by a future Conservative government.
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