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Bishop's Stortford estate agents brief MP Mark Prisk on property market problems

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Residential Sales Director William Wells, MP Mark Prisk and Residential Lettings Director Jo Wilson (11668260)
Residential Sales Director William Wells, MP Mark Prisk and Residential Lettings Director Jo Wilson (11668260)

Bishop’s Stortford’s MP, Mark Prisk, visited town estate agent Mullucks to discuss the state of the property market.

The Conservative former housing and shadow business minister met residential sales director William Wells and residential lettings director Jo Wilson, who briefed him about the challenges the sector is facing and suggested policies which a new Prime Minister could introduce to help.

Mr Wells said: “Amongst the tumult and clamour in the Palace of Westminster, it was good to meet a sitting Member of Parliament so that we could raise issues that are important to us in relation to the process of buying, selling, renting and letting properties.

"Most strikingly, Mr Prisk was interested to hear that stamp duty revenue has dropped by £1bn in the last quarter.

"Stamp duty is the single biggest barrier to people moving home. As recently as 1996 the top rate was 1% – today it’s 15%. This means that whilst a decade ago people moved home every nine years, today it’s every 15 years instead.

“On the sales side of the business, it’s now taking over 16 weeks between agreeing a sale and exchanging contracts. Meanwhile, in rentals, the sector feels that it’s being besieged and is struggling to cope with 140 pieces of legislation which cost a fortune to administer and are almost impossible to police effectively.”

Mr Prisk, who will be 57 on June 12, was a chartered surveyor before he became an MP in 2001. In May 2010 he was appointed a business and enterprise minister in David Cameron's coalition Government and in September 2012 he became a housing minister, a post he held for 13 months until he was removed in the October 2013 reshuffle. Since leaving the Government, he has served on the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee.

Mr Wells added: “We told Mr Prisk that a radical reform of stamp duty was necessary to get the market back on its feet.

"We also suggested that a co-ordinated and calmly considered plan for residential property in both sales and rentals should be undertaken, because in the recent past there have been far too many knee-jerk reactions to pressure groups.

"All the evidence is that these moves have been very poorly thought through and will not achieve the objectives intended. He certainly provided a sympathetic ear to our concerns.

“Ultimately, we hope that whoever takes over from Theresa May as Prime Minister will be less interested in soundbites and in simplifying legislation rather than complicating it. A while ago, the Government did promise a bonfire of quangos and legislation, and pledged to create an aspirational nation. However, this simply has not happened.”

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