Tories vow to hike property taxes on foreign buyers

Foreign individuals and companies who buy properties in the UK will be forced to pay higher levels of stamp duty under Conservative proposals.

The Tories say the surcharge on people who are not tax resident in the UK will help more Britons get on the housing ladder, as well as fund efforts to tackle rough sleeping.

Estimates suggest the measure, which would be enforced if the Tories win a majority in next month’s election, would raise up to £120m a year.

Elsewhere in the general election campaign:

  • The Liberal Democrats are saying they will commit to building 300,000 new homes a year – including 100,000 social homes that would be available to rent
  • Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn is urging people to register to vote ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, as figures suggest more than nine million eligible Britons are yet to do so
  • The SNP is demanding the devolution of Network Rail in order to give the government full control over the railways in Scotland

At present, foreign individuals and companies can buy homes as easily as UK residents, but under the Conservatives’ plans, they would face a 3% surcharge on top of the stamp duty already payable.

It is believed that the policy would affect approximately 70,000 property purchases per year.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak said: “Evidence shows that by adding significant amounts of demand to limited housing supply, purchases by non-residents inflate house prices.

More from General Election 2019

“Britain will always be open to people coming to live, work, and build a life in this great country. The steps we are taking will ensure that more people have the opportunity of a great place to live and build a family.”

An estimated 4,667 people were sleeping rough across England in autumn 2018, according to government statistics.

This represented a 2% fall from autumn 2017 – the first time the number of people sleeping rough has fallen year-on-year since comparable records began in 2010.

Over that period, rough sleeping has increased by almost 165%.

However, despite the improvement in overall figures for England from last year, regional figures revealed a worsening situation in some areas of the country.

The Conservatives claimed UK property is often bought by wealthy foreign individuals or companies and kept as investments or rented out at inflated prices.

They cited a recent study that showed 13% of new London homes were bought by non-residents between 2014 and 2016.

Former speaker of the house John Bercow will be joining the Sky News election night team to bring some order to proceedings.
‘Join me on Sky News on election night’

The Brexit Election on Sky News – the fastest results and in-depth analysis on mobile, TV and radio.

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