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Leading Tory warns "much further to go" on removing buy to let tax breaks

As the Conservative Party conference continues, a leading Tory has warned that "there is much further to go" on removing buy to let tax advantages.

Damian Green, a former government minister in the Conservative-LibDem coalition, says in a Daily Telegraph article previewing the conference that a truly radical Tory government should champion two things - technology and transparency.

On transparency, Green says the creation of comparison websites has made it harder for "pernicious oligarchies" of large private companies to over-charge consumers; he wants the same to happen to utilities and telecommunications.


Then he moves on to buy to let by stating: "As well as energy prices and broadband access, there is a huge discontent about housing provision."

He goes on: "We need to reclaim the mantle of the party of home ownership and to do that we no only [need] to build more houses but ensure they are available for people to buy. Too many new houses and flats are immediately snapped up by buy to let landlords and never become available for first time buyers.

Then he makes a reference to the announcement in the July Budget by Chancellor George Osborne that mortgage interest and wear and tear tax breaks for landlords would be restricted.

Green writes: "I am delighted that we have taken the first steps towards removing the tax advantages for buy to let but I suspect there is much further to go (and therefore more political courage required.)"

The former minister's remarks are likely to reignite the debate over the future of buy to let under a government which, in the eyes of many, had appeared more pro-landlord and pro-investor than the Labour alternative during the spring election campaign.

The Chancellor's Budget announcements have prompted an online petition against his proposed tax changes, which has so far secured over 32,000 signatures, and a 'Saynotogeorge' website has been set up outlining the effects of the tax breaks on consumers, tenants and the property industry.

  • Simon Shinerock

    Deluded and out of office. Using the word transparency is farcical, the real motivation behind hobbling landlords is entirely opaque. Big institutions are being bribed to build rental rabbit hutches for the masses. Another reckless ill informed attempt at social engineering by a clever but misguided Chancellor

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    Tories attacking pensions !! Thought they were the party of people helping themselves.

    Mark Hulbert

    Rather than the slightly unfortunate phrase "helping themselves", Peter means we thought the Conservative party were the party who would support individual property investors who have stepped up to the plate to become responsible landlords, and to make themselves and their families self-supporting, all encouraged (and rightly so) by successive governments. It is amazing to see this government now pulling the rug out from under those landlords' feet, and subjecting the private rental sector to the severe damage that will result. These budget changes should be scrapped or, at the very least, made non-retrospective.

  • Richard White

    Step 1: Open up pension funds so people (misguidedly) draw out their retirement cash and buy a property with it because they wrongly think property is the only 'safe' investment. Tax them on taking out the money, tax them when they buy the property, tax them on the income forever. Then change the tax rules, so that they'll get taxed much, much more aggressively from 2018 and make it just far enough away that people put it to the back of their minds.

    Step 2: Pour it into the unquenchable black hole that is the social security budget.

    Is this cynical raping of the middle classes anything other than socialism in disguise?


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