Ed Balls says he is goind to call for "urgent action" to kick-start growth, suggesting a "clear and costed plan" to use the proceeds from the forthcoming sale of 4G radio frequencies to scrap stamp duty for two years on properties worth £250,000 or less.
"With this one-off windfall from the sale of the 4G spectrum, let's cut through the dither and rhetoric and actually do something," he will say. "Not more talk, but action right now.
"Let's commit that money from the 4G sale and build over the next two years: 100,000 new homes - affordable homes to rent and to buy - creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and getting the construction industry moving again"
Well £4 billion isn't going to pay for any homes. It works out at £40,000 per new house, which would mean they would have to be impossibly small.
Somehow this stamp duty land tax is supposed to apply to new built low cost homes. But stamp duty isn't a tax on the sale of houses but a tax on the sale of land. The house becomes legally part of the land by dint of its semi-permanent affixation. So how does it get applied to new homes? If I sell a £1,000 shed on a £245,000 plot of land, do I get a lower rate of SDLT? And what if I renovate an old building? How new does it have to be, or does the holiday apply to all buildings?
Not really worked out, this idea, but then neither was any Balls fiscal policiy when he was a member of the government.