It looks like the stamp duty holiday for England and Northern Ireland, already in effect following yesterday’s announcement, is unlikely to be replicated in Scotland.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak says any property purchased up to £500,00 0in England and Northern Ireland would be exempted from stamp duty until the end of March.
Normally stamp duty changes are replicated across the devolved governments, but the Scottish newspaper The Herald quotes a Holyrood spokesman as pouring cold water on a repeat move north of the border.
The Scottish Government spokesman says the “progressive approach” of that country’s version of SDLT - known as Land and Buildings Transaction Tax - means almost half of all property sales are already free of tax.
“Currently there are no plans to reduce LBTT. The progressive approach we have taken to setting rates and bands means that, in 2018-19, just under half of all residential transaction were below the zero rate threshold and the median home buyer paid just £200. In addition, as at end March 2020, our first time buyer relief has helped more than 21,000 taxpayers to buy a home” says the government spokesman.
One of Scotland’s biggest agencies, Galbraith, says a similar holiday in that country would be a huge boost to the market.
“We would urge the Scottish Government to now review the situation north of the border in order to provide the same stimulus. The property market in Scotland does not exist in a bubble and greater competitiveness in England will have a knock-on effect on transactions here” says Simon Brown, a partner at Galbraith.
“A reduction in Land and Buildings Transaction Tax would boost activity and may actually increase the overall tax take whilst supporting movers and the property sector more generally. We are optimistic for the recovery of the Scottish market but this needs to be supported by the right fiscal conditions to be sustained."