BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May will unveil plans on Sunday to levy an extra fee on foreign buyers of homes in Britain, saying she wanted to stop it being as easy for those who do not live in the country to buy homes “as hard working British residents”.
May, struggling to unite her governing Conservatives behind her Brexit strategy, hopes to use her party’s annual conference in the English city of Birmingham this week to reset her agenda to tackle growing inequality in Britain.
Aware that the opposition Labour Party staged a successful conference last week and set out new policies targeting many of those who voted to leave the European Union, May will try to take the upper hand by launching a new social agenda.
“At Conservative conference last year, I said I would dedicate my premiership to restoring the British Dream, that life should be better for each new generation, and that means fixing our broken housing market,” she will say.
“It cannot be right that it is as easy for individuals who don’t live in the UK, as well as foreign based companies, to buy homes as hard working British residents.”
She will say that a new surcharge will be levied on top of all other stamp duty – a tax paid on property purchases – including higher levels of stamp duty introduced in April 2016, on second home and buy-to-let purchases.
The government did not say when the new rates would be introduced but said it would consult on the stamp duty increase, which would be levied on individuals and companies not paying tax in Britain.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)