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Councils should copy New York’s property levy to raise billions

Councils in England could raise up to £62bn by mirroring New York’s property levy, according to the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE).

ACE’s report, ‘Unlocking housing: Invigorating local communities through place making,’ argues that a radical change in approach will ensure that the UK is able to tackle the housing crisis.

In New York, a Real Property Transfer Tax is applied to all sales, grants, assignments, transfers or surrenders of real estate.

The authors of the report argue that by implementing a similar scheme in England, charging a 1% tax on the sale or transfer of property worth £350,000 or less and 1.425% on properties worth more, ACE estimates that this could raise £2.16bn.

Transferred to local authorities, the report says that this could be worth £62bn in long-term bonds – more than the current Crossrail and HS2 budgets combined.

Commenting on the proposals, Dr. Nelson Ogunshakin, chief executive of ACE, said: “Our proposals are mirrored on a proven model and would enable local authorities around the country to share in the gains of the property market and receive the vital funds they need to kick-start a housing revolution and invest in its supporting infrastructure, so all can benefit.”

He explained that the association believes that local authorities are best place to tackle the housing crisis, and that a property sales levy would ensure that they have the tools at their disposal to do so.

“For too long we have skirted around the issue – we need to find new ways to fund the homes the country desperately needs,” he added.

The report also calls for cash to be spent in the right way, making recommendations to put “placemaking principles at the heart of local authority planning,” ensuring meaningful engagement with local communities, that new home design should reflect the desired “look and feel” of a community, and promoting local authority owned development companies to lead by example.

To help take these proposals to the next stage, ACE is supporting the establishment of a new cross-party parliamentary group on building communities, which will promote ideas around place making to the heart of politics and “encourage a public debate on the human dimension of infrastructure investment.”

A number of MPs and Lords have already expressed an interest in the group’s establishment, including Bob Blackman, Sir Graham Brady, Baroness Brown, Baroness Chalker, Stephen Hammond, Mark Prisk, Lord Shipley, and Matt Western.

Top image: Creative-Family


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