New property, landfill taxes raise £572m

The first annual receipts for Scotland’s new Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and Scottish Landfill Tax showed £572 million was collected in 2015-16 — about £74 million more than initial forecasts.

The figures were outlined by Derek Mackay in his first statement to the Scottish Parliament as Finance Secretary.

“This is the first set of provisional outturn figures that take account of the powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament under the 2012 Scotland Act and they are very positive,” said Mackay.

“We introduced the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax last year with the particular aim of helping first-time buyers enter the property market.

“Almost 9,700 additional house purchases were taken out of tax altogether in 2015-16 and more than 41,600 buyers paid less than they would have under UK stamp duty.

“Today’s figures show we not only supported first-time buyers, we also generated around £74 million more in revenues from the two devolved taxes than we originally expected.

“The provisional outturn figures show the Scottish Government has managed its budget of around £29 billion tightly and effectively, deploying resources where needed in 2015-16 and carrying forward a prudent 0.5% to spend this year, reflecting the need to work across financial years within the budgeting limits that apply.

“In light of current events, it is even more important now the Scottish Government continues our competent handling of the economy with our approach of stability, certainty and proactivity.”

Mackay also updated the Scottish Parliament on his contact with the UK Chancellor.

“No-one can deny the significance of last week’s events for our economy, our communities or indeed our constitution.

“This morning I spoke with the UK Chancellor and we have agreed to keep in contact in the coming weeks.

“At this point, with a forthcoming change of Prime Minister and likely impact of Brexit on UK Government finances, it is not clear what a future UK Government’s fiscal plan will be.

“It is therefore important we have the appropriate time to consider and be ready to respond to any possible financial impact on Scotland.

“We will work with the Finance Committee to ensure the Scottish Parliament has both the time and reliable data it needs to scrutinise our plans.

“That will see us bring forward a Budget for 2017-18 in the first instance with a full spending review undertaken once we have greater clarity around the likely fiscal future of the UK.”

Total devolved tax revenues exceeded initial forecasts by around £74 million, comprising £44 million from Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and £30 million from Scottish Landfill Tax.

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.