The postponement of stamp duty and a tax-free savings account to help first-time buyers are among measures being considered by Gordon Brown as part of a package of economic steps designed to rescue his premiership next month.

The government yesterday pledged to announce measures to “help people with housing” and fuel bills in the autumn, while admitting it had yet to work out exactly what those policies were.

The Treasury is costing options to defer stamp duty for lower value homes. But officials said reports the tax would be temporarily axed for all properties were wide of the mark. While the prime minister is desperately seeking ways to revive Labour’s dismal opinion poll ratings, the government cannot afford to lose the £6.5bn annual revenue generated from residential stamp duty.

Alistair Darling yesterday committed the government to announcing “further measures in the autumn to help people with housing”. The chancellor did not rule out changes to stamp duty, but emphasised: “We have not concluded what exactly we need to do.”

Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, The Independent