Tories vow to undercut SNP property tax

Buyers would see a higher starting rate of tax of �140,000 under the Tories. Picture: Jane Barlow
Buyers would see a higher starting rate of tax of �140,000 under the Tories. Picture: Jane Barlow
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Plans for a cut in the tax faced by Scots when they buy a home have been unveiled by the Conservatives.

The proposals will see thousands of middle-income families enjoy a reduction in the new land and buildings transaction tax (LBTT), which replaces stamp duty in April.

The Tory proposals are lower than the plans already set out by the SNP government.

It would mean a starting rate of tax at £140,000 – higher than the SNP’s planned £135,000, which would mean 46 per cent of house purchases would be tax-free.

Tory finance spokesman Gavin Brown said: “This is a tax cut for families and first-time buyers who want to get on the property ladder.

“And it’s also a tax cut for people wanting to move up the property ladder.

“The SNP has to act now. Scottish families are in danger of having to pay a heavy tax on home-buying purely because this left-wing SNP government thinks it knows best about how to spend our money.”

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The SNP government is under pressure over homebuyers’ tax after Chancellor George ­Osborne dramatically slashed the rate of stamp duty in his recent Autumn ­Statement.

This appeared to undercut the new rates set out for LBTT by John Swinney, when it comes into effect in April.

The plans unveiled by the Scottish Conservatives will mean the SNP government’s proposals for a 10 per cent rate on homes between £250,000 and £500,000 would be halved to 5 per cent.

Mr Brown said it means all homes would be better off, or left the same, compared to the Scottish Government’s plans.

In comparison to the UK system, the Scottish Conservatives’ plan would mean 97 per cent of transactions, including all those below £500,000, would leave house-buyers better off.

Mr Brown added: “We cannot have a situation where ordinary families are paying higher tax rates than the rest of the UK for no good reason.

“This is affordable, it’s fair and John Swinney now needs to change his ill-judged plans for a tax on aspiration.

“He needs to join us in helping low and middle-income people who dream of owning their own home, or of getting a bigger house for their families.”

The change would cost about £90 million to fund, but the Tories insist it is “fully costed”.

Changes to the Scottish Government’s funding as a result of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement make it affordable, they said.

Under the new Westminster stamp duty rules, the first £125,000 of a property will not be taxed at all, while buyers of properties valued from £125,000 to £250,000 will be charged at a 2 per cent rate.

From £250,000 to £925,000, buyers will be charged at 5 per cent. From £925,000 to £1.5m, they will be charged 10 per cent and for more than £1.5m the rate will be 12 per cent.

Under Scotland’s LBTT, no tax will be charged on properties bought for up to £135,000; 2 per cent will be charged on properties between £135,000 to £250,000; 10 per cent will be charged for properties costing between £250,000 and £1m; and for properties costing more than £1m, the levy will be set at 12 per cent.

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