Scotland must encourage investors into its property market to support the economy

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Scotland must encourage investors into its property market to support the economy once the coronavirus recedes, property management platform apropos has argued.

David Alexander, joint managing director of D.J. Alexander and apropos, argued that Scotland should align its Land and Building Transactions Tax thresholds with Stamp Duty in England.

He said: “Clearly there is going to be a downturn in the Scottish and UK economies in the coming months. This weeks’ Fraser of Allander report stated that it may take until 2024 before Scotland returns to its pre-pandemic state.

“The uncertainty of the coming six months is causing havoc in all parts of the economy and the residential housing market is particularly susceptible to fluctuations in mood.

“The Scottish property sector, with its higher taxation on first time buyers, second-home owners, landlords and property investors already makes it a less attractive prospect than its counterparts south of the border.

“First-time buyers in England under normal circumstances pay no stamp duty on the first £300,00 whereas in Scotland the tax starts at £145,000.”

Alexander added: “In order to make Scotland a more appealing destination for investors the Scottish government should, at the very least, unify the rates and thresholds for land and buildings transaction tax (LBTT) with its English equivalent the stamp duty land tax (SDLT).

“Although the LBTT threshold has already been raised due to the pandemic until the end of March it has not matched the offer in England so remains substantially higher for property investors, second homeowners, landlords and first-time buyers.”

“Scottish government ministers privately concede that they could raise higher revenues by reducing the rates and threshold of LBTT, but they choose not to for the sake of political expediency.

“However, in these times when the Scottish government needs all of the funds it can get to cope with the economic fallout from the pandemic it must make sense to choose higher revenues over political point scoring.”