Home truths

Think tank: Bright Blue

Author(s): Professor Paul Cheshire; Professor Christian Hilber

May 20, 2021

This report from UK think tank Bright Blue looks at the options for reforming residential property taxes in England.

England’s system of property taxes is in urgent need of reform. Council Tax, devised in a hurry to resolve political difficulties after the demise of the Poll Tax, hits those in low-value homes hardest, and bears at best only a tenuous relationship to today’s house prices. Stamp Duty acts as a tax on moving house, slowing the housing market and making it harder for people to find the right home for them. This report presents the various options to reform the England’s property taxes, assessing them against both economic and political criteria. It concludes by setting out a new approach to taxing English property to mitigate the regressiveness and distortions of the current system, and help achieve government aims of levelling up and delivering net zero.