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IMLA: Government must address stamp duty AND cladding

The Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) is calling for the Chancellor to flexibly wind down the stamp duty holiday to ensure the ‘cliff-edge’ isn’t simply postponed until the end of June.

At the same time the association said the Chancellor should further support victims of unsafe cladding when announcing the Budget on March 3rd.

While the government has pledged £5bn to cladding remediation to date, IMLA argued that this amount should be trebled to £15bn.

Kate Davies, executive director of IMLA said: “The current Stamp Duty holiday deadline of 31st March has created unprecedented levels of activity and put a huge strain on lenders and conveyancers as they race to complete transactions in time.

“We have asked for some flexibility to avoid penalising those who miss the deadline, very possibly through no fault of their own.

“Whilst an extension may be welcomed by some purchasers, unless the flexibility we’ve argued for is built in it will simply kick the can down the road and create another “cliff-edge” in the summer.”

She added: “There remain other key challenges which demand the Chancellor’s attention.

“The misery being caused by the cladding crisis has gone on long enough already – and whilst the government’s latest announcement (of a further £3.5bn to fund remedial work, taking the total available to £5bn) is welcome, IMLA believes it still doesn’t go far enough.

“It’s been estimated that the total cost of removing dangerous cladding and repairing buildings is likely to be nearer £15bn – 3 times what the Government is currently committing.”

“To put the government’s £5bn cladding remediation scheme into context, lenders were collectively required to pay out over £55bn in compensation for mis-sold PPI, which caused no loss of life or livelihoods.

“The inspections rendered necessary by the cladding scandal have revealed myriad cases of poor workmanship and incomplete inspections at the construction stage which, though not as potentially lethal as the combustible cladding, will require costly remediation. It’s completely unacceptable to expect leaseholders to bear these costs.”

IMLA also said there should be help to boost engagement with green housing initiatives, while waiting periods for borrowers wishing to apply for loans under the Support for Mortgage Interest Scheme need to be improved.