Theresa May plans to hike UK property tax for foreign home buyers

LONDON • Foreign buyers face paying higher tax on their purchase of homes in the UK, as Prime Minister Theresa May starts unveiling policy plans ahead of her Conservative party conference.

The government said it will launch a consultation to lift stamp duty on individuals and companies not paying tax in the UK. Ministers are believed to be considering a rate ranging from 1% up to 3%, according to the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

The move is likely to add to the pressure on the country’s property market. Bank of England governor Mark Carney told senior government ministers earlier this month that a no-deal Brexit could see house prices plummetting by over 35%.

“Currently foreign buyers can purchase homes in the UK as easily as people who live here, but there is evidence this is inflating house prices,” the government said in a statement.

May is facing pressure over her leadership and the Tory conference comes a week after a series of policies were announced by the Opposition Labour Party to try to rejuvenate struggling parts of the country, including a house building programme. The government said the stamp duty increase would make homes more affordable for British residents and money raised would be used to help the homeless. — Bloomberg