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Almost a third of over-65s say stamp duty cut would be an incentive to move but says it is not the only barrier

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Almost a third of over-65s say stamp duty cut would be an incentive to move but says it is not the only barrier

New research from Key – the UK’s leading independent equity release adviser – suggests that stamp duty reform could incentivise over-65s who are looking to downsize.  This research adds to figures from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) which also shows support for cuts in stamp duty to help downsizers and increases the call for reform of property taxes ahead of the Budget.

Its study[i] found 8% of over-65s homeowners – the equivalent of 375,300[ii] across the UK – would definitely consider moving if stamp duty was abolished for last-time buyers. Research among estate agents shows cuts in stamp duty command widespread support – 63% of estate agents would welcome the abolition of stamp duty for older homeowners making a final house purchase.

In addition, 32% of over-65s homeowners – more than 1.5 million – say cuts in stamp duty would be an incentive but admit it is not the only barrier to downsizing and 37% say it would have no impact on them.

Will Hale, CEO at Key said: “While making changes to stamp duty is likely to appeal to some over-65s, downsizing can be more complex than anticipated so a move like this could only be part of wider solution.  Our research shows around 620,000 over-65s have looked at downsizing but can’t find a suitable home while another 500,000 have done the sums and found out they wouldn’t make enough money to justify this type of upheaval.

“When we speak to customers, we find that they are often very attached to their home and their neighbourhood so downsizing is not something they want to consider.  And, if they do consider it, they may well want to take equity release out on their new house as they haven’t made as much as they hoped or they want to make some improvements to make it feel like home.   When making these choices, it is vital that they get independent specialist advice as it will help them to fully understand all their options.

”Making changes to the stamp duty regime would only solve some of the issues that the housing market and the older generation is facing.  Serious thought needs to go into this to ensure that we do not create a situation whereby people are pushed into doing something that is not actually in their best financial, emotional and social interests. Guiding customers through their options at this potentially difficult time is critical.”

[i]Research conducted by independent researchers Consumer Intelligence among a sample of 502 homeowners aged 65 between May 17th and June 4th 2018

[ii]Figures are based on analysis of data from the ONS Family Spending Report (2017) and ICM

Business

Bank of England sets out interim ‘bail-in’ debt targets for banks

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Bank of England sets out interim 'bail-in' debt targets for banks 1

via Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) – The Bank of England on Tuesday set out interim levels of special debt that banks including HSBC, Barclays and Lloyds must issue over coming years for writing down in a crisis to avoid taxpayer bailouts.

The BoE said it would review how the minimum requirement for own funds and eligible liabilities or MREL is calibrated, and the final compliance date before setting “end state” amounts.

“In doing so, we will have regard to any intervening changes in the UK regulatory framework,” it said in a statement.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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Business

British firms call for immediate $10.3 billion in COVID aid

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British firms call for immediate $10.3 billion in COVID aid 2

via Reuters

By William Schomberg

LONDON (Reuters) – British firms called on Tuesday for another 7.6 billion pounds ($10.3 billion) of emergency government help, saying they cannot wait until finance minister Rishi Sunak’s March budget to learn if they will get more pandemic support.

With Britain back under lockdown and companies adjusting to life after Brexit, firms are taking big decisions about jobs and investment and need to know if their financial lifelines will be extended, the Confederation of British Industry said.

“We just have to finish the job. Now would be a very odd time to end that support,” CBI Director-General Tony Danker said in a statement.

Sunak has extended his support measures several times already and has said his response to the pandemic will cost 280 billion pounds during the current financial year, saddling Britain with a peacetime record budget deficit.

But he is facing calls on many fronts to spend yet more including from lawmakers, some from his Conservative Party, who want an emergency welfare benefit increase to be prolonged.

The CBI said Sunak should extend until June his broad job retention scheme, which is scheduled to expire in April, and then follow it up with targeted support for jobs in sectors facing a slow recovery such as aviation.

He should give firms more time to pay back value-added tax which was deferred last year, grant a similar deferral for early 2021 and extend a business rates tax exemption for companies forced to close by the lockdown as well as their suppliers.

“The rule of thumb must be that business support remains in parallel to restrictions and that those measures do not come to a sudden stop,” Danker said.

The CBI said its longer-term priority was an overhaul of the business rates system that it said was outdated and discouraging investment in low-carbon energy.

Danker said it was too soon to start raising Britain’s corporation tax rate, one of the lowest among rich economies after a Times report that Sunak was drawing up plans to increase it to start fixing the public finances.

“It would be wrong to raise business taxes when we don’t have a recovery,” Danker said.

($1 = 0.7380 pounds)

(Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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BOJ’s policy review may make ETF buying more flexible – Reuters poll

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BOJ's policy review may make ETF buying more flexible - Reuters poll 3

via Reuters

 

By Kaori Kaneko

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Bank of Japan will likely focus on measures to make its purchases of risky assets, such as exchange-traded funds (ETF), more flexible as the economy comes under growing strain from a spike in COVID-19 infections, a Reuters poll found.

Analysts polled also revised down their economic projection for the fiscal year ending in March on expectations a recent resurgence of coronavirus infections would dent growth.

Economic activity could stall in the world’s third-largest economy from pandemic curbs and the BOJ may have to look at more effective ways to achieve its 2% inflation target as renewed infections force it to maintain its massive stimulus longer, analysts said.

The central bank said last month it would undergo an examination of its yield curve control and quantitative easing policies to seek ways to make them more “effective and sustainable”. Its findings will be released in March while new GDP estimates will be issued at its Jan. 20-21 policy meeting.

“The BOJ may be thinking of correcting distortions caused by its policy that could become an obstacle for maintaining its current framework through Governor (Haruhiko) Kuroda’s term that ends in early 2023,” said Izuru Kato, chief economist at Totan Research.

Asked what steps the BOJ would take when the central bank unveils its findings in March, 31 economists said the central bank would “make its ETF, J-REIT buying more flexible,” the poll conducted between Jan. 7-18 showed.

Eight analysts said the BOJ would revise its three-tiered deposit rate system that applies negative interest rates only to marginal excess bank reserves and two said the central bank would change the 10-year bond yield target to other durations.

The question allowed multiple answers.

The central bank will discuss ways to scale back a controversial programme that buys massive amounts of exchange traded funds without stoking market fears of a full-fledged retreat from ultra-loose policy, sources have told Reuters.

 

RENEWED STATE OF EMERGENCY

Japan expanded a state of emergency it declared for the Tokyo area earlier this month to seven more prefectures last Wednesday amid a steady rise in COVID-19 cases.

Many analysts expect the latest measures to inflict less damage to the economy than the stricter and broader curbs imposed in April and May last year.

In the poll, taken before the government’s decision to expand the state of emergency beyond the Tokyo area, analysts expected the economy to contract 2.4% in January-March. The poll had predicted a 2.1% expansion in December.

For the current fiscal year ending in March, the economy was forecast to shrink 5.5%, the poll found, slightly weaker than a 5.3% contraction projected last month.

The economy was expected to expand 3.3% in the fiscal year beginning in April, starting with 4.1% growth in the April-June quarter, the poll showed.

“Restrictions under the renewed emergency status are relatively moderate, so it could take a long time for infection numbers to fall,” said Hiroshi Namioka, strategist and fund manager at T&D Asset Management. “Downward pressure on prices could strengthen.”

Core consumer prices, which exclude volatile fresh food prices, will slip 0.5% this fiscal year before rising 0.2% next fiscal year, the poll found.

Economists were split on which direction the BOJ will move when it next changes policy.

Twenty-one of 39 analysts forecast the BOJ would scale down stimulus, while 18 said it would ramp up monetary support.

Sources have told Reuters the BOJ was likely to slightly revise up next fiscal year’s economic forecast and hold off on expanding stimulus at its Jan. 20-21 policy meeting.

 

(For other stories from the Reuters global economic poll:)

 

 

(Polling by Shaloo Shrivastava, Editing by Leika Kihara and Jacqueline Wong)

 

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