There was a "stamp duty stampede" of multi-million pound home sales rushed through last night before the Chancellor's slab system reforms came into effect, saving a fortune in additional tax which would have been liable after midnight.

In some cases lawyers were being offered up to £10,000 to get the deals done in time, according to the Evening Standard.

The biggest single deal in the London area that went through last night was a £30m house in Surrey which exchanged at 11.45 saving more than £1.4 million in stamp duty, reported the paper.

The new rules, which came into force last night, mean less tax for the vast majority of transactions. However, those paying above the £1.5m threshold will have to pay more than they would have previously.

James Robinson of estate agent Lurot Brand, told the Standard: "I was on the phone until midnight with six solicitors who all earned a lot of money last night.

"We had to get one of the clients out of bed as he was in America. We got the last email confirming exchange at 11.58pm, it was very close. On one deal the difference was £150,000 in stamp duty. The incentive was £10,000 to each of the lawyers."