Owning your own home is in some ways one of the most liberating experiences you can undertake. When you move from your parent’s home, or from a rented property, into your first home that you own, you have a range of important new freedoms. You can choose the paint and the wallpaper, have a cat or dog of your own, drill holes in the wall if you need to install items, or take a hammer to the non structural parts of the home and remodel them. You can invite who you like.
Government is always there to take some of the joy out of the experience. They want their pound of flesh before you move in, with their Stamp Duty demand, a tax on home ownership. They demand an annual levy or Council tax for you living in your own home. They require full plans and fees if you wish to make significant changes to the building. They may even have views on hedges, trees and fences around your garden.
A freedom manifesto would try to reduce the nagging and taxing demands government makes on homeowners, and would try to help more into home ownership. The present government has rightly made it easier to buy a home from the public sector where a tenant wishes to change to an owner. It has also launched its Help to buy scheme to enable more buyers to afford the deposit for a home of their own.
A freedom manifesto might include lower Stamp duties on lower priced parties, perhaps by making the thresholds points at which the marginal extra cost of the home is charged at the higher rate, not charged at the higher rate on the full amount. Local and national policies to keep Council taxes down are an important part of the drive to raise living standards by controlling domestic costs.
More planning flexibility for the homeowner, more access to finance for purchase, and less tax would be a good combination.