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Call for buy-to-let stamp duty tax to be abolished

Landlords are being taxed out of the market and rents pushed up as result, claim some calling for the buy-to-let stamp duty surcharge to be abolished.

A 3 per cent stamp duty surcharge is applied on each investment property that a landlord purchases.

It can lead to tens of thousands of extra pounds that landlords have to pay. Combined with the reduction of tax relief on mortgage interest and greater regulation, experts say this has prompted some landlords to quit the market.

Their exit has contributed to a reduction of supply of rental homes at a time of increasing demand. This is in turn has led to higher rents as tenants compete for a smaller supply of suitable homes.

Taxing landlords out of the market cuts supply and increase rents, according to letting experts

Taxing landlords out of the market cuts supply and increase rents, according to letting experts

Removing the 3 per cent surcharge could encourage landlords to remain, or return, to the market, boosting supplies of rental homes by 900,000 in the next decade, according to Capital Economics.

This was based on its survey of 608 landlords where 38 per cent of respondents said they would increase the size of their property portfolio or postpone or scale back planned sales of rental properties if the stamp duty levy was scrapped. 

The survey results were weighted by portfolio size to be representative of the impact across the 2.6 million private landlords across Britain.

Its research was commission by the National Residential Landlords Association, which is calling on the Government to adopt this proposal amid a ‘chronic shortgage’ of homes to rent.

Ben Beadle, of the National Residential Landlords Association, said: ‘The Government needs to wake up to a crisis of its own making.

‘Taxing landlords out of the market serves only to cut supply, increase rents and make home ownership more difficult to afford.

‘The evidence clearly shows that the supply of rented housing is declining as demand increases and will continue to do so. The Government is taking a blinkered approach to the issue, which is not helped by its reluctance to admit mistakes it has made in the past.

‘It makes no sense to tax the supply of new homes supplied by landlords investing in new build or bringing empty homes back into use. As this study indicates, removing the tax will actually generate more revenue, not less.’

Capital Economics is calling for the 3 per cent buy-to-let stamp duty surcharge to be abolished

Capital Economics is calling for the 3 per cent buy-to-let stamp duty surcharge to be abolished

Due to increases in income and corporation tax receipts, Capital Economics suggested that the move this would lead to a £10billion boost to Treasury revenue in the next 10 years.

Capital Economics also highlighted how these revenue streams would continue over the decades that follow, so long as the landlords do not later sell all these properties.

Capital Economics went on to warn that, if owner occupation and social housing continue at their ten-year average rate of growth, this would require a significant increase in the supply of private rented homes.

Almost 230,000 new homes would be needed in the sector each year if Government ambitions for housing over the next decade are to be met.

Even if other housing tenures double their rate of growth, it would still mean more than 100,000 new private rental homes a year will be needed over the same period.

The NRLA said that given renting privately is the first housing tenure most young people enter when they leave home or university, demand will only increase as the 15 to 24 cohort in the population is forecast to grow between now and 2030 by 866,000 (11 per cent).

Capital Economics suggests that without changes in tax or other policies, the private rented sector stock will decrease further by over half a million properties over the next ten years.

As well as being hit by the cost of living crisis, tenants are also facing rental inflation of 8.3 per cent, it has been revealed.

The typical rent across Britain now stands at £969 a month, with a single earner now expecting to spend 37 per cent of their gross income on rent, according to Zoopla. 

North London estate agent Jeremy Leaf said: ‘The aspirations of this report are very laudable – in other words it is clear that the country needs more affordable rented accommodation but it is not clear whether this it the best way of achieving that.

‘It is more a question of firstly assessing what we have and making better use of that, before we consider making it easier for landlords to buy property. These measures would also have potentially an inflationary impact on house prices and make it more difficult for first-time buyers to take that first step onto the ladder. So more careful planning to solve the overall problem, rather than one part of it, is required rather than any knee-jerk reaction.’

A HM Treasury spokesperson responded, saying: ‘We want to help as many people as possible onto the housing ladder, which is why we introduced the Higher Stamp Duty Land Tax Rates for Additional Dwellings (HRAD), designed to help double the affordable housing budget and support first time buyers. 

‘This is part of the Government overall commitment to invest £10bn in housing supply, unlocking over 1 million new homes and supporting home ownership.’

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The 15 best and worst places to live in the UK to stay healthy, live a long life… and get a GP appointment, revealed by health and data experts. So is your town on the list?

It’s not just thriving high streets, affordable housing and being in the catchment area of a good school that sways many home buyers.

Living in a healthy area and having access to excellent hospitals with low waiting times for treatment and easily accessible GP appointments is another very strong consideration for house hunters.

Indeed, where you live can have a profound effect on your health and life expectancy. According to the charity The People’s Health Trust, women born in the most disadvantaged areas of Scotland, on average, live 25 fewer years in good health than those born in affluent areas, while men die 9.7 years earlier.

We’ve consulted health experts and analysed a range of surveys, university studies and data to reveal the best and worst places to live in the UK for access to good healthcare.

Where you live can have a profound effect on your health and life expectancy

Where you live can have a profound effect on your health and life expectancy

THE BEST

Leeds, Yorkshire

Three of this northern city’s nine hospitals are in the UK’s top 50, according to a recent study by Newsweek.

 The city, home to 455,000 people, has almost two hospitals per 100,000 people, as well as 1.32 sexual health clinics per 100,000. 

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), in its latest inspection, said Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust was ‘safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led’, and gave it an overall rating of ‘Good’, while sexual health services were rated ‘Outstanding’ overall.

Great Torrington, Devon

This market town in North Devon is the healthiest place to live in the UK (joint with Appleby-in-Westmorland, below), according to a Access To Healthy Assets And Hazards study by the University of Liverpool. 

It has low levels of pollution, access to parks and green space, few retail outlets that may encourage poor health-related behaviours and good access to health services. Both Torrington Hospital and Torrington Health Centre enjoy very good ratings overall.

Inner London

While inner London suffers from relatively high air pollution, lots of fast food joints and limited green space, this is offset by having, overwhelmingly, the best healthcare provision in the country. 

In Newsweek’s annual survey of the UK’s top 125 hospitals, St Thomas’ in Westminster came first, while five of the top eight were located in inner London. Conversely, just seven are in Scotland and one in Wales. 

A MailOnline analysis of NHS data in 2023 found that London was only beaten for ambulance response times by the Isle of Wight in the four categories of urgency for 11 regions of England.

Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria

Nestled in the picturesque Eden Valley, this charming market town on the banks of the River Eden was considered to be the healthiest place to live in England by the Geographic Data Science Lab’s Access To Healthy Assets And Hazards data resource compilation. 

There’s plenty of evidence out there to confirm this: for example, the CQC has rated Appleby Medical Practice as ‘Good’ for some years, while 78 per cent of patients who arrived at A&E at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (which includes Westmorland General Hospital) last month were seen within four hours.

Edinburgh, Scotland

The Scottish capital came second in the NowPatient study of cities and towns offering the best healthcare.

It offers very accessible services, with 1.72 hospitals and 1.29 sexual health clinics per 100,000 people. Edinburgh also offers a quick turnaround, with all Scottish hospitals completing an 18-week standard waiting time from GP to treatment. 

The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh was rated as the 33rd best hospital in the UK by Newsweek.

South Tyneside, Tyne and Wear,

After a major and comprehensive inspection, the CQC rated South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust’s community-based health services as ‘Outstanding’, and acute hospital care as ‘Good’. 

It highlighted many areas of outstanding practice, including its end-of-life care services at St Benedict’s Hospice in Ryhope, and community sexual health services. 

The hospital provides state-of-the-art regional vascular services and laser imaging equipment, the first of its kind in the UK and one of only a few worldwide. 

The Trust’s waiting times for outpatient appointments were consistently better than the England average. 

The 2022 Healthcare Transformers study of the UK’s top healthcare hotspots found this county to be the third best place to live for healthcare in the country, with 97 per cent having confidence in their GPs.

Penarth and Barry, Vale of Glamorgan

Close to Cardiff in the Vale of Glamorgan, Penarth and Barry were considered to be great places to live on the basis of access to healthcare, according to a study by the University of Liverpool. 

With Penarth being just three miles from Cardiff, and Barry nine, they benefit from the Welsh capital’s healthcare provision, including the University Hospital Of Wales, which is considered the best hospital in Wales and came 42nd in Newsweek’s top UK hospitals.

THE WORST

St Davids, Pembrokeshire

Currently all aspects of healthcare are challenged in Britain’s smallest city. Its closest hospital, Withybush in Haverfordwest, recently closed several wards due to crumbling concrete, resulting in patients having to travel for 90 minutes to access care. 

Although they have reopened now, significant disruption due to continuing repair work continues. 

An independent inspection at Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen, an hour away, uncovered overcrowding, with patients sleeping on the floor in A&E and not always receiving consistently safe care. 

Ambulance waiting times in the area are generally bad, and there’s currently a fight to save St Davids’ only GP surgery, which is due to close.

Southend-on-Sea, Essex

The resort town’s Southend University Hospital received a CQC rating of ‘Requires improvement’ in 2022, due to staff shortages and them not completing mandatory training, among other issues. 

In 2023, one in five people were on an NHS waiting list, the highest rate in the country, while Recent NHS figures revealed more than a third of A&E patients at Mid and South Essex hospitals were not seen within the four-hour target

Some 21 per cent of the city’s children are living in poverty, compared with 15 per cent in the rest of England. 

Between the most and least deprived wards, there is a life expectancy gap of nine years for men and ten for women. The town received one of the lowest scores for access to healthcare in NowPatient’s analysis of NHS, Allianz Worldwide Care and Newsweek data. 

There are just 0.34 hospitals per 100,000 people, compared to more than four per 100,000 in London and Manchester. It has poor sexual health coverage and waits for general surgery are high.

Newtown, Powys

Rural areas around the country often have bigger problems accessing healthcare. And Newtown, like Holyhead on Anglesey and Tonna in Neath Port Talbot, was seen by the University of Liverpool’s study to be an area of Wales where healthcare provision was not particularly good. 

Employment website Indeed has numerous highly critical reviews of working for Powys Teaching Health Board, with a former employee criticising its ‘dreadful management, old fashioned ways’, while another said ‘management is all over the place’.

Gloucester

If you want to see a GP in Gloucestershire, you’re likely to be in for a long wait. An analysis of NHS data by Claims.co.uk found that, out of England’s 42 integrated care boards, NHS Gloucestershire came out worst, with nearly 600,000 appointments, or 12 per cent, taking longer than 22 days from booking to consultation

Maternity units covered by NHS Gloucestershire are among 10 per cent of maternity units in England that were rated this year as ‘Inadequate’ for safety by the CQC

In January, the BBC’s Panorama revealed serious concerns about maternity services in Gloucestershire, with midwives saying that a poor work culture and staff shortages led to baby deaths that could have been avoided.

Thurrock, Essex

NHS Thurrock came second to last in the Healthcare Transformers study of the UK’s top healthcare hotspots. Just 60 per cent of people described the process of booking a GP appointment as ‘good’, and 72 per cent described their GP experience as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. 

Thurrock has only 4.22 GPs per 10,000 people. The NHS website has numerous woeful reviews for Thurrock Health Centre, and councillors at one Thurrock health and wellbeing board meeting heard patients were waiting for hours to get through to surgeries by phone, while a patient survey showed that Thurrock had the lowest overall experience rating in Mid and South Essex. 

Out of 7,905 patients ill enough to be admitted to three Mid and South Essex hospitals in February, 2,700 — almost a third — had to wait 12 hours or more from arrival to treatment.

Ashford and Margate, Kent

NHS Kent and Medway came third to last in the Healthcare Transformers study of the UK’s top healthcare hotspots. 

Just 66 per cent of people described the process of booking a GP appointment as ‘good’, and 80 per cent described their GP experience as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. There are just 4.71 GPs per 10,000 people. 

There have been a number of concerns about the standard of care offered at the Trust’s hospitals, including issues concerning security staff and adult safeguarding. In October 2022, an independent review into neighbouring East Kent NHS Hospitals Trust found that up to 45 babies who died may have survived had their received better care.

Bradford, West Yorkshire

This West Yorkshire city had just 0.33 hospitals and sexual health clinics per 100,000 people, and no hospitals in the area are on Newsweek’s top hospitals list. 

In 2022, it was revealed that 104 compensation claims totalling nearly £18 million were made to Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which covers Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s Hospital. 

More than £17 million was paid to patients and their families who had received insufficient care. 

A further £900,000 was paid out in compensation by Bradford District Care Trust, which is responsible for running community care, including dementia and mental health services.

Portsmouth, Hampshire

NHS Portsmouth came last in the Healthcare Transformers study of the UK’s top healthcare hotspots. 

Just 59 per cent of people described the process of booking a GP appointment as ‘good’, and 79 per cent described their GP experience as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. Portsmouth has 4.38 GPs per 10,000 people — while Northumberland, which came first in the rankings, has 6.95 GPs per 10,000.

Meanwhile, in March, a University of Portsmouth study called Healthwatch Portsmouth found that ‘accessing primary care and specialist services was difficult for Portsmouth residents, mental health services were often inaccessible and did not provide appropriate, ongoing care and dental care was not accessible for many’.

 

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Britain HAS become more anti-social! Complaints data shows huge spike in fines for serial noise polluters

The London borough of Southwark and North Lankarkshire in Scotland received the highest number of noise complaints last year, exclusive research for This is Money reveals. 

A Freedom of Information Act request by Churchill Home Insurance revealed local authorities received more than 203,000 complaints from residents about noisy neighbours in 2023. 

Fines for breached Noise Abatement Orders (NAOs) also surged by 56 per cent last year compared to the previous year.  

Noise complaints: Southwark and North Lankarkshire councils received the highest number of noise complaints last year, according to data

Noise complaints: Southwark and North Lankarkshire councils received the highest number of noise complaints last year, according to data

In Southwark, there were 10.069 noise complaints received by the local council in 2023, while in North Lankarkshire there were 9,099, Churchill Home Insurance said. 

Redbridge, Kensington and Chelsea and Birmingham councils had the third, fourth and fifth highest number of noise complaints received last year, the findings added. 

Nuisance noise from neighbours is an even bigger problem this year. 

In the first quarter of 2024, councils made 59 per cent more revenue from fines for breached NAOs than during the whole of last year. 

Despite persistent neighbourhood noise issues being endured by many, only 6 per cent of people support a move to Swiss-style ‘quiet hours’, according to the research. 

In many parts of Switzerland there are designated ‘quiet hours’ from 10pm to 6am. 

While Southwark and North Lankarkshire were the worst locations for noise complaints last year, Westminster, Falkirk and Wandsworth also made it to the ten worst locations for noise in 2023. 

Keep it down: Of the top 10 worst areas for noise complaints last year, half were London boroughs, Churchill Home Insurance said

Keep it down: Of the top 10 worst areas for noise complaints last year, half were London boroughs, Churchill Home Insurance said 

Of the top 10 worst areas for noise complaints last year, half were London boroughs, while Scotland made the top ten three times. 

The local authorities which issued the most fines for breaches of NAOs did not receive the highest number of complaints. 

Calderdale, Gateshead and Burnley accounted for over 50 per cent of all NAO fines issued last year, according to the research.

An NAO tells a person what they must do to stop making a noise nuisance, or face further legal action. 

Anyone who breaches an NRO can be fined up to £5,000. 

Sarah Khan, head of Churchill Home Insurance, told This is Money: ‘Too many people think they are above the law and intimidating neighbours with excess noise even when they have been banned from doing so previously.

‘High levels of noise can be extremely distressing, especially if people are trying to get young children to sleep and want windows open to avoid them getting too hot on a warm night.’

She added: ‘Some noise pollution is completely accidental, as the summer is a fantastic time to get outside and entertain and complete much needed garden maintenance. 

‘However, noise can travel incredibly far without people realising. 

‘Chatting to your neighbours, letting them know if there may be a special event that may be noisier or unusual or completing DIY during the day, can really help avoid issues arising.’

Most intrusive noise from neighbours 
Type of noise Percentage of people negatively affected
1. Frequent dog barking 51%
2. Having parties/entertaining  37% 
3. Using DIY equipment/power tools  33% 
4. Trampolining  24% 
5. Kids playing in the garden  21% 
6. Jet washing  19% 
7.  Other gardening like hedge trimming 14% 
8. Mowing the lawn   11% 
Churchill Home Insurance    

What sort of noise causes problems? 

Barking dogs, parties and entertaining and DIY tools are the the three biggest offenders on the noise nuisance front, Churchill Home Insurance said. 

More than half of people said barking dogs had had a ‘negative impact’ on them, compared to 37 per cent who said the same about nearby parties. 

One in seven adults have also been affected by neighbours using noisy DIY tools, according to the research. 

Trampolining, children playing in gardens, jet washing, gardening work like hedge trimming and mowing the lawn also made it to the list of the eight worst noise problems. 

Nearly a quarter of people said people on trampoline noise had had a negative impact on them, while 19 per cent had trouble with noise from people jet washing nearby.  

The majority of Britons think parties and entertaining should be wrapped up by 10pm on a weekday and 11pm on weekends. 

Meanwhile, most people think noisy jobs outside should stop at 8pm during the week and at weekends. 

Nightmare neighbour story? Get in touch: editor@thisismoney.co.uk 

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So why did a football-loving Scot put their £220,000 house full of football memorabilia and Saltire cushions up for sale? Maybe it’s because of what the neighbours have been up to next door!

House hunting hopefuls have been left in hysterics after a home packed out with Scottish football memorabilia was put on the market.

But it wasn’t their unique Tartan Army-themed décor that had viewers chuckling – it was the contrast with the neighbouring home.

You would most likely see the famed blue and white flags clashing against those of the English at football matches or in a scene of Braveheart. 

However, these neighbours have managed to hilariously illustrate the long-standing cross-border rivalry between the two nations with their homes.

The semi-detached three-bed, listed at £220,000 in Belgrave, Leicestershire, has been decked out in blue and white, the colours of Scotland’s Saltire flag.

House hunters have been left chuckling after spotting a proudly Scottish home next to a property drowned in English flags

House hunters have been left chuckling after spotting a proudly Scottish home next to a property drowned in English flags

The property up for sale next to home donning English flags is kitted out with Saltire cushions and Scottish football memorabilia (pictured)

The property up for sale next to home donning English flags is kitted out with Saltire cushions and Scottish football memorabilia (pictured)  

But the neighbouring owner’s are giving them a run for their money in the patriotism category, draping their property with English flags. 

Although not obvious, the Scottish home is decked out with a blue mat as well as a copious amount of football memorabilia and Saltire cushions.

Even in their white-walled study, a bright blue laptop as well as a blue documents folder can be spotted.

But the owner’s aren’t all about the Highlands, with subtle nods to English football teams in the home such as a large picture of Birmingham City FC’s logo.

Estate agents Taylor Cole described the property as ‘the most attractive semi-detached family home’ nestled in a ‘delightful cul-de-sac.

They added: ‘[The] home boasts spacious internal dimensions, offering a wealth of opportunities to create your perfect haven.

‘Stepping inside, you are greeted by a warm and welcoming reception hallway, complete with stairs leading to the first-floor landing.

The property also has a ‘cosy family lounge’ with a bright bay window, allowing natural light and warmth to spill into the home. 

‘Toward the rear of the home, an open-plan kitchen/diner provides a wonderful reception space, perfect for both entertaining and day-to-day functionality.’ they added.

‘The kitchen is well-equipped, and the dining area offers ample space for family meals and gatherings.’

Taking to Reddit, hundreds of people were quick to joke about the contrasting neighbours.

One jibbed: ‘Why am I moving? I don’t get on with the neighbours. Like, really don’t get on with them.”

The home has themes of white and blue running throughout the property packed with Scottish momentos

The home has themes of white and blue running throughout the property packed with Scottish momentos

When you step into the home you are immediately greeted by a bright blue welcome mat (pictured)

When you step into the home you are immediately greeted by a bright blue welcome mat (pictured)

Upstairs in the white office, the bright blue theme reminiscent of the Scottish flag can be seen in the laptop and document folder

Upstairs in the white office, the bright blue theme reminiscent of the Scottish flag can be seen in the laptop and document folder

However there is a nod to English football with a large Birmingham City FC logo mounted on the wall

However there is a nod to English football with a large Birmingham City FC logo mounted on the wall

Those online found the contrast between the two homes hilarious, with one suggesting the neighbours had a 'cross-border rivalry'

Those online found the contrast between the two homes hilarious, with one suggesting the neighbours had a ‘cross-border rivalry’

‘I love the audacity of the agent to not crop next door out of the thumbnail,’ a second penned.

A third added: ‘OMG. I was laughing straight off seeing the house covered in England flags, but when we got to the interior shots with the wee Scottish bun cushions I straight-up had a coughing fit.’

‘With those Saltire cushions, I’d suggest a bit of cross-border rivalry,’ one quipped.

A fifth joked: ‘Getting up on the roof to put a flag there is hardcore insanity.’

MailOnline has approached Taylor Cole Estate Agents for comment.

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