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Scotland announces tax on second homes


John Swinney, Scotland’s finance secretary, has followed George Osborne’s lead and imposed a 3% surcharge on the purchase of second homes. Delivering his budget, Mr Swinney said there would be an additional supplement of 3% of the purchase price of the property, on top of the existing Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT). According to the Scottish Fiscal Commission, the supplement on LBTT will affect between 8,500 and 12,500 transactions each year, and could raise between £19m and £27m. It warned, however, that it is hard to forecast the impact in the first year, as sales may be brought forward to the current financial year to avoid the new tax. Mr Swinney said: “I am conscious of the issue of second homes. We need to ensure that the opportunities for first-time buyers to enter the market in Scotland are as strong as they possibly can be and we need to make certain that tax changes elsewhere in the United Kingdom do not make it harder for people to get on the property ladder.” Mr Swinney also announced an increase in taxes levied on big business but kept income tax in line with the UK. A rise in the Uniform business rate (UBR), which determines the level of tax paid by businesses, by 3.4% will be introduced, while an increase the large business supplement - which is paid by those firms with a rateable value in excess of £35,000 – is expected to raise about £130m.

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