The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) welcomed the announcement by the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement of the reform of stamp duty land tax away from the current slab structure to a marginal system. The CML states that it has long argued for such a reform.
CML Director General, Paul Smee, commented:
“This fundamental reform has been a long time coming, but better late than never. Although there are losers as well as winners, the vast majority of mortgaged transactions will benefit from lower tax as a result of this move.”
CML data suggests that among mortgaged transactions over the past year:
- 21.6% were for less than £125,000
- 47.9% for £125,001-£250,000
- 29% for £250,001-£925,000
- 1.1% for £925,001-£1.5 million
- 0.4% for over £1.5 million.
The proportion of mortgaged transactions that would pay more tax under the new system is around 1.5%.
The Autumn Statement document also refers to work that is being undertaken by the CML and Which? The CML states that it is pleased to be working with Which? towards a set of measures that both organisations hope will aid transparency, understanding and decision-making for consumers when they are considering the overall costs of different mortgages. Further stating that although the Financial Conduct Authority’s rules on the presentation and transparency of cost information are comprehensive, consumers do not always find the cost disclosure easy to understand. Thus, this initiative is about looking at whether there are some practical steps, outside the scope of regulation, that can help.
The CML and Which? have agreed to work together to consider practical steps on the following issues:
- transparency and presentation of fees and charges to help improve consumer outcomes;
- standardisation of terminology around fees and charges;
- consumer education; and
- setting administrative charges so that they reflect the cost to the lender.
The Treasury is taking an interest in this work. The CML and Which? have agreed to provide a progress report by the time of the Budget 2015. The overall project is expected to take up to six months to complete, and will produce a programme for future action, to be taken forward through industry guidance.
CML Director General, Paul Smee, said:
“With the largest and most competitive mortgage market in Europe, UK customers are well-served for choice. We recognise that for this choice to bring the greatest benefit, consumers need to be able to understand and compare products confidently. We welcome the opportunity to work with Which? towards measures that can make this easier for them.”
Note: The Council of Mortgage Lenders’ members are banks, building societies and other lenders who together undertake around 95% of all residential mortgage lending in the UK. There are 11.1 million mortgages in the UK, with loans worth over £1.3 trillion.