Mini-budget response: stamp duty amongst big tax cuts

Conveyancing solicitors will be watching and waiting to see how the stamp duty land tax (SDLT) cuts, outlined by the UK government in its mini budget today (23 September), will affect their business.

From today, the government will permanently increase the threshold above which SDLT must be paid on the purchase of residential properties in England and Northern Ireland from £125,000.

It’s also making the rules providing SDLT relief for first-time buyers more generous.

The thresholds are increasing from £125,000 to £250,000 and £300,000 to £425,000. The maximum value of a property on which first-time buyers’ relief can be claimed will also rise from £500,000 to £625,000.

Law Society of England and Wales president I. Stephanie Boyce said: “Today’s announcement means conveyancing solicitors will now be watching and waiting to see how the changes announced by government today will impact their workload and businesses.”

Energy Relief Bill Scheme

The government has also committed to a six-month Energy Relief Bill Scheme for businesses.

I. Stephanie Boyce added: “We welcome the government’s energy package, as it will bring much-needed certainty to law firms and individuals. Most law firms are local small businesses.

“Law firms are already seeing early signs of increasing cost pressures, and the support provided by the new energy relief bill scheme should go some way to alleviating this.

“Ahead of this six-month package for businesses coming to an end, the government should consider the full range of cost pressures facing firms, including law firms of different sizes, in shaping the continuing support it provides for vulnerable businesses.

“The legal sector is an economic powerhouse and adds £60 billion to the UK economy every year and employs 552,000 people across the country.

“However, there is evidence that business confidence among small and medium-sized law firms is beginning to decline. Our recent survey shows law firms have highlighted an economic downturn as one of their largest concerns for the next 12 months.”

Judicial review

As part of its plan, the government has announced specific changes to accelerate delivery of infrastructure, including considering options to changing the judicial review system to avoid claims which cause unnecessary delays to delivery.

“Legal challenges are a safety net that ensure government is acting lawfully, following laws agreed by a democratic parliament,” said I. Stephanie Boyce.

“We await the full detail of the proposed steps. We are keen to be reassured that any proposals will not restrict access to justice or damage the rule of law.”

Notes to editors

Read the UK government’s Growth Plan 2022

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