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Scottish MPs vote yes to support 3% LBTT surcharge

  • 12/02/2016
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Scottish MPs vote yes to support 3% LBTT surcharge
The Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee has backed the introduction of a 3% Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) surcharge on buy to lets and second homes over £40,000 in Scotland.

But MSPs said the charge would need to come with exemptions and be reviewed after its introduction in April to ensure it did not have any unintended consequences.

At a committee meeting last week, finance secretary John Swinney said the amendment to the LBTT Bill had been introduced to increase competition for first-time buyers and ensure investors put off by the 3% Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) in the rest of the UK do not enter the Scottish market.

While the committee agreed to the general principles of the Bill it emphasised the need to balance the interests of first-time buyers with those who rent their homes and with the interests of housebuilders and investors to protect the supply of new homes.

Kenneth Gibson MSP, convener of the Finance Committee, said: “The committee heard concerns, for instance, about the impact on people who rent, whether through choice or necessity. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has suggested that the supplement could lead to a rise in rents as additional costs are passed on to tenants. We feel that the support given to first-time buyers must not be at the expense of those people who rent their homes.”

A proposed exemption includes the introduction of relief on bulk purchases of six properties or more. The committee also wants the Scottish government to consider ring-fencing revenue from the LBTT supplement to support Help to Buy or other areas of investment in the housing sector.

The Bill is intended to come into effect on 1 April 2016.

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