A former Conservative Shadow Cabinet member has criticised the Government’s attitude to buy-to-let landlords – claiming the private rented sector is vital to solving the UK housing crisis.
Writing for the Daily Telegraph today ahead of the Budget, the former Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Lord Flight has noted that faced with ever growing demand for homes to rent: “The Government should be supporting investment in the sector and not, through the recent tax changes relating to buy-to-let, actively discouraging it.”
Addressing the Chancellor’s argument that buy-to-let housing is preventing aspiring owners from getting on the property ladder, Lord Flight warns against pretending that “there is a false choice to be made between supporting rented housing on one hand, and home ownership on the other.”
“There is”, he concludes, “little, if any, evidence to demonstrate that home owners and buy-to-let investors are chasing after the same properties.”
He cites also the Institute for Fiscal Studies which has said that, contrary to assertions by the Government, landlords are taxed much less favourably than home owners.
In his article Lord Flight backs proposals by the RLA, recently supported by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, calling for capital gains tax rollover relief to be allowed for landlords where the proceeds of sale are reinvested in new homes.
The Conservative Peer calls also for greater efforts to be made to free up small plots of unused public sector land that are not attractive to corporate investors but which smaller scale landlords have traditionally been good at developing.