Stamp duty shake-up could mean sell­ers pay­ing

Ken Clarke: I’ll be PM!

Daily Mail - - News - By Larisa Brown and Amelia Clarke

SA­JID Javid is con­sid­er­ing a ma­jor shake-up of stamp duty, switch­ing the bur­den from buy­ers to sell­ers.

The change would help first-time buy­ers get on the prop­erty lad­der, and mean big­ger prop­er­ties would be within reach of ex­pand­ing fam­i­lies.

How­ever, those look­ing to down­size would be hit with a larger tax bill af­ter ben­e­fit­ing from ris­ing house prices, the Times re­ported. The plan is part of a raft of changes due for con­sid­er­a­tion for the up­com­ing Bud­get later this year.

Mr Javid, in his first interview as Chan­cel­lor, said: ‘I’m a low-tax guy. I want to see sim­pler taxes.’

He is said to have kept open the prospect of sell­ers be­ing li­able for stamp duty rather than buy­ers amid grow­ing con­cern over the London prop­erty mar­ket. Asked about the pro­posed tax change, he said: ‘I’m look­ing at var­i­ous op­tions.’

He also pledged that those on the low­est wages would be the first to see tax cuts – but he sug­gested higher earn­ers would be in line to ben­e­fit too.

He told The Times: ‘Wait and see for the Bud­get. But it wouldn’t be any sur­prise that I think taxes should be ef­fi­cient. We want to set them at a rate where we are try­ing to max­imise rev­enue, and that doesn’t always mean that you have the high­est tax rate pos­si­ble.’

Mr Javid had sug­gested tax cuts for higher earn­ers dur­ing his bid to be­come prime minister. Mean­while, Boris John­son’s cam­paign pro­posal to raise the higher income tax thresh­old from £ 50,000 to £80,000 was heav­ily crit­i­cised.

Now in post, Mr Javid said the ‘ low­est paid’ had to be taken into ac­count when look­ing at tax cuts. ‘If you are go­ing to have tax cuts, I think you should always be think­ing about the low­est paid, and about how you can try and help them,’ he said.

‘There are many ways to try and help peo­ple that are fac­ing day-to-day chal­lenges, and you’ll have to be very con­scious in a bud­get to make sure that you can try to fo­cus on those that need it most.’

Mr Javid ad­mit­ted he was con­sid­er­ing re­draw­ing the ‘fis­cal rules’ fol­lowed by pre­de­ces­sor Philip Ham­mond, say­ing Bri­tain has some of the ‘low­est rates on gov­ern­ment debt this coun­try has ever seen’. ‘I wouldn’t be do­ing my job if I wasn’t think­ing se­ri­ously about how do we use [that op­por­tu­nity],’ he said.

The Chan­cel­lor said he had yet to de­cide whether the Bud­get will be be­fore the Oc­to­ber 31 Brexit date.

Mr Javid ad­mit­ted that there were con­cerns about the global econ­omy, and that re­cent trends sug­gested a loom­ing re­ces­sion. He said: ‘If trade in the US econ­omy goes into re­ces­sion, that’s go­ing to have a global im­pact, given its in­flu­ence on the global econ­omy. There’s the US-China trade dis­pute, which will im­pact us all if it goes the wrong way.’

But he went on: ‘That said, for us, right here and now, I think where we can take some com­fort is the fundamenta­ls of our own econ­omy are very strong.’ Mr Javid also added that the Trea­sury un­der his con­trol was now fully on board with what he called the Brexit reset. He said: ‘The Trea­sury it­self, will be, ac­tu­ally is 100 per cent be­hind the reset in our ap­proach to Brexit.’

KEN Clarke said last night he would be will­ing to be­come care­taker Prime Minister to stop Bri­tain leav­ing the EU with­out a deal on Oc­to­ber 31.

The Tory former Chan­cel­lor de­clared that a gov­ern­ment of na­tional unity could be nec­es­sary be­cause he be­lieves the coun­try is now fac­ing a cri­sis sim­i­lar to the 1930s re­ces­sion and two world wars.

MPs who want to stop a No Deal Brexit are con­sid­er­ing oust­ing Boris John­son from Down­ing Street through a vote of no-con­fi­dence, but dis­agree on who should re­place him. Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn has put him­self for­ward but he has been re­jected by Lib­eral Demo­crat leader Jo Swin­son, who has sug­gested an al­ter­na­tive fig­ure such as Mr Clarke or Har­riet Har­man.

Last night Mr Clarke said he had been away on hol­i­day for a fort­night and not fol­low­ing the news, but had now re­turned and would be will­ing to step in. He told BBC Radio 4’s PM pro­gramme: ‘If it was the only way in which the plain ma­jor­ity in the House of Com­mons that is op­posed to a No Deal exit could find a way for­ward, I ac­tu­ally said to Jo when she man­aged to raise me when I was on hol­i­day that I wouldn’t ob­ject to it, if that was in the judg­ment of peo­ple, the only way for­ward. A gov­ern­ment of na­tional unity is just one of the things that might be called for.

‘It’s not inconceiva­ble – I mean we’re in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion to 1931 and rather wildly to the two world wars when the same thing hap­pened.

‘But there’s an aw­ful lot to be gone through be­fore then and I haven’t been tak­ing part in any talks with any­body for the last fort­night. I’ve been on the phone to one or two peo­ple in the last cou­ple of days just to find out what the devil’s go­ing on.’

His sug­ges­tion was met with a sting­ing re­buke last night from Nigel Evans, a mem­ber of the 1922 com­mit­tee of Tory MPs.

He told the PM pro­gramme: ‘We’ve filled the va­cancy with Boris John­son and so I re­ally don’t know what Ken is talk­ing about. It does seem to be West­min­ster meets La La Land be­cause it’s not as if these ideas are half-baked, I re­ally don’t think they’ve been any­where near an oven.’ It came as:

Former At­tor­ney Gen­eral Do­minic Grieve, one of the Tory MPs look­ing to stop a No Deal Brexit, in­sisted he would not back Mr Cor­byn be­com­ing a care­taker PM – de­spite agree­ing to meet him to dis­cuss the is­sue;

Mr Cor­byn sav­aged Miss Swin­son af­ter she re­jected his plan to lead an emer­gency gov­ern­ment to block a No Deal Brexit; and

The Labour mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, urged the Lib­eral Dem

‘West­min­ster meets La La Land’

ocrats to se­ri­ously re­con­sider Mr Cor­byn’s of­fer.

Yes­ter­day Mr Clarke, the Fa­ther of the House, said Mr Cor­byn would have to stand aside for a gov­ern­ment of na­tional unity.

‘What I just heard him say­ing is con­sti­tu­tion­ally wrong and... the prece­dents of the three na­tional gov­ern­ments I’ve de­scribed, in no case was the na­tional gov­ern­ment led by the leader of the largest po­lit­i­cal party,’ he added.

‘Now, he ob­vi­ously is the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion in Par­lia­ment – he’s the per­son who hopes to win an elec­tion. Per­son­ally I think it’s very un­likely he can win an elec­tion but he can’t just say, “well if there’s any other gov­ern­ment it has got to be me” – that is, I’m afraid, wrong, fac­tu­ally and con­sti­tu­tion­ally.

‘He’ll have to do what sim­i­lar party lead­ers did on pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sions and let some­body else lead it be­cause I think it is the only way to get a mul­ti­party group to come to­gether.’

Mr Clarke said his gov­ern­ment of na­tional unity would be a ‘sin­gleis­sue, short-term gov­ern­ment’ with a pol­icy to ‘sort out Brexit’.

‘I think it would seek an extension, ac­tu­ally put to­gether a man­date for dis­cus­sions that the ma­jor­ity of the House of Com­mons ap­proved of, and a man­date that the Euro­peans would not re­sist – such as staying in the cus­toms union, staying in reg­u­la­tory align­ment, keep­ing our free flows of trade and in­vest­ment, protecting our jobs and our key sec­tors of busi­ness and agri­cul­ture in this coun­try.

‘Then, once it had got that un­der­way, it would call an elec­tion prob­a­bly or re­sign and let’s see if Par­lia­ment could form a party gov­ern­ment of any kind that took it all for­ward and started re­sum­ing other pol­i­tics.’

Mr Clarke’s com­ments came as oth­ers re­jected the idea of Jeremy Cor­byn be­com­ing a care­taker PM.

Mr Grieve said he would not back such a move fol­low­ing a back­lash to the idea from party col­leagues, while David Gauke – the ex-Jus­tice Sec­re­tary who also op­poses No Deal – tweeted: ‘If any­one thinks the an­swer is Jeremy Cor­byn, I think they’re prob­a­bly ask­ing the wrong ques­tion.’

Mr Clarke is our long­est-serv­ing MP hav­ing be­ing first elected in 1970. As well as Chan­cel­lor, he had served as Health Sec­re­tary, Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary and Jus­tice Sec­re­tary.

But his pro-European stance put him at odds with many in his party and he was un­suc­cess­ful in three at­tempts to be­come Tory leader.

En­ergy minister Kwasi Kwarteng said he be­lieved that at 79 Mr Clarke is too old to be­come Prime Minister.

He told BBC Radio 4’s To­day pro­gramme: ‘ I’m a great fan of Ken Clarke... he’s been around for a long time, he’s very ex­pe­ri­enced.

‘[But] all of this seems to me like spec­u­la­tion. I think we have a Prime Minister and we’ll de­liver on the man­date and the ref­er­en­dum of 2016.’

Boris John­son is ex­pected to fly to Berlin and Paris next week for talks with Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel and French pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron ahead of a G7 sum­mit in Biar­ritz next week­end.

Mean­while, real is­sues such as tack­ling en­demic vi­o­lent crime – cul­mi­nat­ing this week in the shock­ing death of PC An­drew Harper – and so­cial care re­form must await a Gov­ern­ment not look­ing over its shoul­der.

But when will that be? The real con­cerns of the pub­lic are tak­ing a back seat as Brexit sucks the life out of our na­tional debate.

Does this deep dis­sat­is­fac­tion con­cern our elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives?

Hardly. They are more in­ter­ested in get­ting back to the Com­mons tea­room to re­sume plotting. Why con­sider ‘ bor­ing’ Bri­tish Steel and its ‘tire­some’ jobs when you can play Fan­tasy Cab­i­net in a the­o­ret­i­cal ‘gov­ern­ment of na­tional unity’?

A piti­ful as­sem­blage of Marx­ists, Na­tion­al­ists, Lib Dems and delin­quent Tory Re­main­ers pro­pose this lash-up as a way of ‘bring­ing the coun­try to­gether’.

Yet its sole pur­pose is to frus­trate the 2016 vote to quit the European Union. This is the real coup be­ing planned over Brexit – not Boris John­son’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to con­trol the par­lia­men­tary timetable.

Sum­mer madness has gripped once-sane Tory MPs like Oliver Letwin and Do­minic Grieve, who have hinted at a Faus­tian pact with Jeremy Cor­byn to over­throw their own Gov­ern­ment. Now, we hear, they have drawn back. Why, they’ll set­tle for Ken­neth Clarke or Har­riet Har­man in­stead!

It’s all baloney, of course. Not least be­cause even Mr Cor­byn is not daft enough to cede pri­macy in a rain­bow gov­ern­ment.

And if by some mir­a­cle this ridicu­lous project flies, what would it pro­duce? Months, maybe years, of de­bil­i­tat­ing Brexit tur­moil.

Re­jected: Mr Cor­byn yes­ter­day

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