"Surprising" that stamp duty was not addressed alongside IHT

It is surprising that the escalating cost of stamp duty was not examined in chancellor Alistair Darling’s pre-Budget report.

Such is the opinion of Stroud & Swindon Building Society, which states that it is particularly shocked since the inheritance tax (IHT) threshold was raised in response to rises in property prices.

The firm reports that the average amount of stamp duty paid on a home in the UK has increased at some five times the rate of average salaries, according to IFAonline.co.uk.

Paul Chafer, sales and marketing director at the firm, comments that nil-rate threshold for stamp duty should be raised from its current figure of £125,000 to something closer to current house prices, such as £200,000.

"We call on the government to raise the stamp duty threshold in order to take into account the astronomical house price growth that has occurred over the past decade," he adds.

Stamp duty land tax is currently payable at one per cent for any property purchased for more than £125,000 up to four per cent for a property purchased for more than £500,001.