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Call to boost housing market activity as £55m deficit in LBTT receipts is revealed

As it is revealed that the Scottish Government has collected £55 million less than expected in receipts from Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT), the country’s home building industry has repeated its call for the extension of the current five per cent band in order to address the considerable drop in activity at the higher end of the property ladder which has occurred as buyers either can’t afford it or consider the perceived punitive nature of the tax and choose to stay put.
 
Nicola Barclay, Chief Executive of trade body Homes for Scotland, said:
 
“As we have expressed in submissions to the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament, if we are to have a healthy and well-functioning housing market, we need a tax framework that enables movement up and down all price levels.  However, feedback from our members shows that the present system (which varies considerably from that south of the border) is creating significant barriers.
 
“Whilst in volume terms this may currently impact only a relatively small number of customers, the concern must be that, if aspirational buyers are unable or indeed choose not to move, this will create blockages lower down and place more pressure on the price of the fewer homes that do come on the market.  Not only will this distort the market, it will also ultimately exacerbate the housing crisis. Clearly, this is not good news for the three quarters of Scots who wish to own their own home and will also only serve to put further pressure on the social and private rented sectors. 
 
“Crucially, however, as we see from today’s Revenue Scotland report, LBTT also has a massive impact on the Budget and public finances. If the Scottish Government acts to boost activity at the higher end of the market, we believe it would result in a greater tax take than is being achieved at present.”

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