The latest figures for tax receipts suggest that the Government is down about £500 million a month in stamp duty revenue.

Taking the three months to October the revenue trawled in £2,162 million in stamp duty. This compares with £3,926 million over the same period a year earlier.

The bulk of the stamp duty comes from residential property transactions.

The shortfall for the year to the end of March 2009 is likely to be well above £4 billion against the budget figure of £13.47 billion.