Praise Swinney

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John Kelly (Letters, 23 January) fails to appreciate that John Swinney should be praised for the way in which he has been able to introduce the new 
Scottish Land and Buildings Transaction Tax.

In the first place, he removed the ludicrous system of bands, where the entire transaction was subject to the one rate of tax, creating so-called “steps” which forced individuals to keep prices below the cut-off point at which the tax rose significantly. This innovation has been copied by George Osborne and is now a feature of stamp duty.

The second point on which Mr Swinney has to be congratulated is the fine-tuning of the rates once the revised arrangements for stamp duty had been announced.

Mr Osborne introduced stamp duty with an extra tier, and Mr Swinney has copied that innovation.

I would congratulate both 
for having put in place a much fairer tax on the purchase of property.

Sandy Gemmill

Warriston Gardens

Edinburgh

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