Scottish landlords take case against ‘harmful’ tax changes to the Treasury
Scottish landlords’ representatives will hold a series of meetings in London this week to thank Scottish MPs for their support in trying to reverse proposed tax changes which they argue will threaten investment in Scotland and harm the supply of affordable housing.
The Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) will discuss with Westminster representatives to discuss additional steps that could be taken to reverse changes to Mortgage Interest Relief (MIR) which SAL is worried could push many landlords into higher income tax brackets despite their income not having increased.
At the same time, SAL will also meet officials from Her Majesty’s Treasury (HMT) to convince them alter their plans.
SAL is concerned that the tax due in many cases could be higher than a landlord’s actual income, causing their businesses to go bankrupt, forcing an increase in rent levels and significantly reducing the number of homes available for rent. This, it argues, would disproportionately affect the supply of affordable housing in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) in Scotland.
In September, SAL strongly supported an amendment to the Finance Bill, submitted by the SNP Shadow Treasury Team at Westminster, which would have required the UK government to review the impact of changes to MIR on the availability of affordable housing but HMT believed this was unnecessary.
Following the meetings with MPs, SAL will meet with Treasury officials tomorrow to urge them to reconsider their policy before the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on November 23.
In the build-up to the Autumn Statement, and with the support of Roger Mullin MP (SNP, Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath), SAL will also host a round table event at Westminster with Scottish MPs on November 2 to discuss progress and further tactics to persuade the government of the need to alter their approach.
John Blackwood, chief executive of SAL, said: “I will be in London at the end of the week to thank Scottish MPs for their ongoing support for our efforts to convince HMT to reverse the proposed changes to MIR in the Autumn Statement next month.
“The changes will mean landlords are taxed on their turnover, unlike every other business in the country which is taxed on profit. This will likely force a large number of landlords to increase rent levels to prevent bankruptcy or sell, reducing much needed housing supply.
“With household costs expected to increase because of the weak pound caused by the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, the last thing vulnerable households need are increases in housing costs forced upon them by unfair tax changes for landlords.
“We will work with our members to try and ensure vulnerable people do not suffer, but increased costs will inevitably impact most on those who cannot afford to see bills increase, potentially driving them in to the arms of rogue or criminal landlords who do not meet legal standards on safety or tenant security.”