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Government’s stamp duty proposals will not make housing more affordable– Morgan

20 June, 2007

Following the publication of the Government's Finance (No. 2) Bill allowing for the abolition of stamp duty for first time buyers, Sinn Fein spokesperson on housing Deputy Arthur Morgan described the Bill was "deeply flawed" and "ill- thought out". Morgan was adamant that these changes would not result in housing being more affordable for first time buyers.

Deputy Morgan said today:

"This Bill provides a mechanism to abolish stamp duty for first time buyers. It is deeply flawed and ill thought out. The most likely effect of this proposal is an increase in house prices - this is what has happened when stamp duty for first time buyers was last reduced. Unless this change actually results in housing being more affordable for first time buyers it is worthless. If stamp duty is to be reformed there needs to be rock solid safeguards put in place to prevent developers from taking the benefit of those changes.

"Only last month the Green Party castigated Fianna Fail's 'flip flopping' on the stamp duty issue. They told us that they were not to be trusted and are on the record as declaring these proposals as 'daft'. I would urge them to continue their opposition to these measures in Government and not support this Bill as currently drafted.

"Again I reiterate it is clear that we need to look at ways to help first time buyers but abolishing stamp duty is simply not the way to go about it. A much more sensible proposal, which would guarantee to benefit to buyer instead of the developer, would be to increase mortgage interest relief which Sinn Féin has recommended. " ENDS

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