'It's £425,000, not £425 million': Grant Shapps fumbles the numbers on stamp duty in his interview with Nick Ferrari

12 June 2024, 10:29 | Updated: 12 June 2024, 11:01

Grant Shapps failed to say the correct figure for his party's stamp duty policy
Grant Shapps failed to say the correct figure for his party's stamp duty policy. Picture: LBC

By Katy Ronkin

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps had to be fact-checked by Nick Ferrari after stating the wrong figure for the Tories' stamp duty policy.

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Mr Shapps initially misstated the maximum income to quality for the scheme as £450,000, then clarified it to £425,000.

When asked by LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast to clarify, Mr Shapps said: "If you've got a number in front of you, you're probably right, because I was saying it off the top of my head."

"You are the Secretary of State for Defence, sent out today to talk, and you don't get the number right? So, is it £425,000?"

He responded, "If it's written down as 425, it's 425. Off the top of my head I remember it as 450. I found it here… you’re right, it’s 425 million…”

Mr Ferrari replied: "I think it's 425 thousand Mr. Secretary of State, not million."

The Conservatives have pledged to abolish stamp duty permanently for homes up to £425,000 for first-time buyers and to introduce a “new and improved” Help to Buy scheme.

Read more: 'It's the story of Britain': Grant Shapps hails 'aspirational' Sunak family after PM reveals he didn't have Sky as a child

Read more: Health minister Andrea Leadsom fails to provide detail on social care cap proposed in new Conservative manifesto

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps fumbles the figure when asked about stamp duty abolition

It comes after Mr Sunak launched the Conservative manifesto yesterday with a plan to cut taxes and reduce immigration.

Some economists, such as Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank, express "a degree of scepticism" about the plans.

But Mr Shapps said his party's plans to cut taxes by £17 billion are "perfectly sensible and rational".

He said that the tax cuts would be paid for by "clamping down on tax evasion and problems with fraud in tax."

Mr Shapps said: "The other part is through reducing the welfare bill... if I just tell you the numbers, I think it is very believable, in as much as the welfare budget has ballooned post-Covid by about £34 billion. We're proposing just getting £12 billion of that.

Nick Ferrari questions Defence Secretary Grant Shapps on the Tories' handling of illegal migration

"This is perfectly sensible and rational, and by comparison - which is the comparison people will be making - Labour have made a series of 27 different spending commitments".

In his manifesto announcement on Tuesday, Mr Sunak gave a last roll of the dice, announcing a flurry of policies designed to woo voters, pledging to:

  • Cut another 2p off national insurance
  • Effectively abolish stamp duty for first-time buyers on homes under £425,000
  • Introduce an annual migration cap
Rishi Sunak.
Rishi Sunak. Picture: Alamy

Mr Sunak said: "We will enable working people to keep more money that you earn because you have earned it and have the right to choose what you spend it on.

"Now, Keir Starmer takes a very different view. He says he's a socialist, and we all know what socialists do, don't we? They take more of your money because they think it belongs to them.

"Now, we are cutting taxes for workers, for parents and pensioners, and we are the party of Margaret Thatcher and Nigel Lawson, a party, unlike Labour, that believes in sound money."