MP after MP spoke about the importance for the wider economy of avoiding housing market instability, while many spoke of the circumstances of their constituents; there had been substantial industry lobbying and genuine public interest ahead of the debate.
That ‘substantial performance’ element refers to the many MPs who in the debate spoke of the possibility of a tapered end to the exemption, where buyers who had reached a certain stage of their transaction would still get the SDLT discount – even if completion had to be after March 31.
HM Treasury’s own advice to its ministers and civil servant says that ‘substantial performance’ is acceptable as a legal term alongside completion. “A contract will be substantially performed where the purchaser obtains ‘the keys to the door’ and is entitled to occupy the property” the Treasury guidance says.
After the debate Mark Hayward – Propertymark’s chief policy adviser – issued a statement saying: “We welcome [the] important debate on the issue of the stamp duty holiday, and are pleased to see that there is clearly cross-party support for a holiday extension or tapered end given the concerning cliff-edge is now only two months away.