Stamp duty changes 'will mean further house price rises'

Reports that chancellor George Osborne's changes to the stamp duty, announced in yesterday's Autumn Statement, show he is 'addicted to rising house prices' feature in today's newspaper round-up.

Yesterday, Osborne scrapped the "slab rate" of stamp duty - which means large increases in tax when house values enter a new band. The new system means the tax would apply progressively, like income tax.

Guardian columnist Patrick Collinson says the move will see house prices rise. He says: "Hurrah for hard-pressed home buyers? Maybe for a day or two - until the ugly dynamics of the market assert themselves. A buyer who on Wednesday could afford a maximum of £275,000 will on Thursday be able to afford £280,000. Inevitably, they will bid more to secure a property - so the tax cut translates almost instantly into a house price rise".

The Telegraph reports that the cut in stamp duty "sent shares in housebuilders higher" while "estate agents and solicitors worked through the night to exchange on multi-million pound homes before the cut off". Buyers of properties priced over £1 million will pay more under the new rules.

The Telegraph also reports that "British town and cities where driverless cars will be tested out to see how they can become part of everyday life on the roads" have been revealed as part of the Autumn Statement. The newspaper says "Greenwich in south-east London, Bristol, Coventry and Milton Keynes will all be used as venues to examine the challenges of bringing fully automated vehicles on to the UK’s highways".

The Guardian reports that the proposed "garden bridge" over the Thames "has been condemned as a ‘Hillsborough disaster in the making’". The newspaper says critics claim the scheme’s backers have "not properly considered how many people it will attract".

The Telegraph reports that Gatwick Airport has claimed that rival Heathrow "has created a fake community support campaign to back its bid to build a third runway". The newspaper says that, in an open letter to Sir Howard Davies, chair of the Airports Commission due to decide on expansion, Gatwick’s chairman, Sir Roy McNulty, wrote: "[The community group] Back Heathrow wears the mask of a community group when they are simply a campaign arm of Heathrow, set up and funded by the airport". The newspaper quotes a response from Heathrow saying it has "always been transparent about the fact that it helps fund Back Heathrow to provide a voice for the thousands of local people who would like to see expansion".

The Independent runs a feature in which writer Tom Jeffries walks the length of the proposed route of the High Speed Two rail link between London and Birmingham. The newspaper says that "along the way, through city streets and open countryside, he met the reality that no line on a map could ever trace".

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