Stamp duty reform saves thousands for 16,000 first-time buyers, Government claims

Changes to stamp duty have saved 16,000 first-time buyers thousands of pounds, according to the Government.

The reforms, announced last year's autumn Budget, cut stamp duty to 95% of all first-time buyers, with 80% paying no stamp duty at all.

Theresa May will be in Wokingham, Berkshire, on Wednesday to meet people who have benefited from the changes.

"I have made it my personal mission to build the homes this country needs so we can restore the dream of home ownership for people up and down the UK,” she said ahead of the visit.

"In the autumn we set out ambitious plans to fix the broken housing market and make sure young people have the same opportunities as their parents' generation to own their own home.

"This has had an immediate impact, with thousands of people already making savings thanks to our stamp duty cut, and over a million first-time buyers over the next five years are expected to save money that they can put towards a deposit, solicitors' fees or furniture."

She added: "We are building a Britain that is fit for the future and our message to the next generation is this - getting on - and climbing up - the housing ladder is not just a dream of your parents' past, but a reality for your future."

May: "I have made it my personal mission to build the homes this country needs so we can restore the dream of home ownership." Credit: PA

The legislation abolished stamp duty altogether for first-time buyer purchases up to £300,000, and offered substantial relief for the first £300,000 of properties worth up to £500,000 to help buyers in higher value areas.

The Government claims 16,000 first-time buyers have already saved thousands of pounds since the changes took, with more than a million likely to benefit over the next five years.

However, Labour's shadow housing secretary John Healey said the Government's policy on stamp duty would just drive up prices.

"Cutting stamp duty without the increase in affordable house-building that Labour has promised will only drive up prices, rather than help the millions of young people who want to buy a home of their own,” he said.

"The number of young home-owners is in free-fall but under the Tories the number of new low-cost homes for first-time buyers has halved and not a single one of the 200,000 'starter homes' promised has been built.

"After almost eight years of Conservative failure on housing, homelessness has doubled, home-ownership has fallen to a 30-year low and the number of new social rented homes is at the lowest level since records began.

"It's clear Theresa May has no plan to fix the country's housing crisis."