Julian Knight: This kite had holes even before Labour tried to fly it
Sunday 10 August 2008
I never thought kite flying could be classed a dangerous sport, but last week's attempt by the Government to float the idea of a stamp duty holiday was extremely perilous.
Instantly, those involved in the housing market cried foul. Many of them liked the idea – though it didn't work when it was tried during the last house price crash – but not the way it was leaked way ahead of any firm decision.
I phoned an estate agent I have known for years and he wondered what homebuyer would go ahead with a purchase now, with the potential of a duty holiday just around the corner. He was worried that the very few sales he had going through would collapse as someone in the chain chose to sit tight.
And the policy itself has big gaps in it. First, how will the Government pay for it? Stamp duty brought in £6.5bn last year, and though that figure will probably be halved this year as house prices dive, £3bn-plus is hardly small change.
And it's a bit of a blunt instrument: anyone who bought would benefit, regardless of their financial position; they could be a struggling first-timer or multi-millionaire.
What's more, it doesn't address the fundamental issues of overtight mortgage lending and house prices that are still too far ahead of earnings.
Ultimately, the market will only recover when prices have fallen so low that enough people feel buying a property is worthwhile.
One policy kite from last week that I did like, though, and it didn't do any harm for being flown, was allowing first-time property buyers to pay into a special tax-free individual savings account for a deposit.
Of course, there are questions. Who polices whether the person enjoying the tax- free status is in fact a bona fide first-time buyer? And would the account be open to people who are returning to home ownership after time spent renting, say after a divorce?
Assuming these questions are answered and the practicalities ironed out, that the Government might now think encouraging savings is a good idea should be welcomed.
Howard's way out
It's the end of an era as the Halifax ditches singing branch manager Howard Brown from its adverts. I suppose that also means the end for the remaining singing staff members featured on our TV screens.
Over the eight years the ads have been running, each new campaign has brought a breathless press release and yet another butchered pop song. The last artists to come to the chopping block were – unforgivably – the Beach Boys.
The bank says Howard has gone because it wants to hit a "serious note" in these recession-haunted times. I presume by "serious note" that the Halifax mean ads will be shot only in black and white, offering a masterclass in moodiness or perhaps one in being patronised – like the goons fronting First Direct's adverts. You know, once I have witnessed this "serious note", I may actually begin to wish for the return of Howard Brown.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
- 1 Sabina Altynbekova, the girl branded 'too good looking' for volleyball, says social media obsession with her is a 'bit much'
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 4 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- 5 Zayn Malik on Israel-Gaza: One Direction singer bombarded with Twitter death threats after posting #FreePalestine
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Secretary (Sales Team Support) - Mat...
£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...
£450 - £650 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...
£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Analyst, ALM Data, Halifax, ...
Day In a Page
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000