10 Dec

Chancellor announces continued support for homeowners

Chancellor announces continued support for homeowners

Alistair Darling has announced that the government will continue to support homeowners facing difficulties with mortgage payments in his pre-Budget report on December 9th.

The chancellor revealed that the Support for Mortgage Interest scheme will be extended for a further six months, helping homeowners until June 2010.

However, many industry bodies have criticised Mr Darling for failing to extend the stamp duty holiday for properties valued at less than £175,000.

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) described the tax as unfairly distorting the property market.

NAEA chief executive Peter Bolton King commented: "It [stamp duty] is prohibitive to people looking for a step up the housing market and unfairly penalises people investing in buy-to-let portfolios."

He called on the government to reform the tax and stated that the chancellor had "missed an open goal" by avoiding the issue in his statement.

Mr Darling asserted that 240,000 homebuyers had benefited from the suspension of the tax on lower-value properties, however, he made no mention of extending the scheme.

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