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Comment: Tory foreign property tax won't work, and how Aramco will beat Alibaba

JIM ARMITAGE
The polls suggest momentum around the Tories is building: Getty Images

TORY tax plans to punish foreign property buyers may play well on the doorsteps but they’ll make the housing crisis worse.

Killing off overseas demand will simply cut the amount of building work going on. With that, the number of affordable homes companies have to build to get permission for the pricier properties will fall too.

Let’s acknowledge that decades of trying to get the private sector to build cheaper homes at scale has failed. It’s time to bite the bullet, adopt the one Labour manifesto pledge that makes sense and start building state-funded council houses again.

It’s the quickest way to ease the supply squeeze at the bottom end of the market and get government out of the private sector’s hair.

Aramco

I thought you got in trouble in Saudi for using the phone on a Friday, but clearly not. A London banker, spending more time in Riyadh than I suspect he’d like, calls, cock-a-hoop at the $1.7 trillion Aramco float’s progress.

Deflated over the past few months at the lack of appetite for an Aramco IPO outside Saudi, he’s chuffed that take-up for the local version has been going well since applications opened five days ago.

Of the portion of shares allocated for institutions, 91% are taken, while applications from retail investors, which usually come in far later, are at 45%.

So, Aramco should be priced at the top end of the price range when the float goes live next month. Which means it will beat the record $25 billion raised by Alibaba’s 2014 share sale after all. Phew. Saudi egos saved. City bankers’ fees secured.