SNP landlord MSPs criticise second home tax rise proposal

SNP landlord MSPs criticise second home tax rise proposal

Kenneth Gibson MSP

The Scottish Government’s plan to increase the Additional Dwelling Supplement from 4% to 6% has been questioned by two SNP MSPs.

Unveiled as part of the draft Budget, the increase, which is paid as part of Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) on additional properties, is expected to raise around £34 million.

At Holyrood’s Finance Committee, SNP convener Kenneth Gibson quizzed minister for public finance, planning and community wealth Tom Arthur about the proposal.

Mr Gibson, who has a declared interest as a landlord, said he was “not aware” of evidence that the charge helped first time buyers get on the housing ladder.

He asked Mr Arthur“: You’ve talked about supporting first time buyers. Where is the evidence the additional dwelling supplement has actually helped first time buyers and encouraged them into the market?

“Because although it may impact on second homes, I’m not aware of any evidence to suggest it’s actually helped increase the number of people that are able to go onto the housing ladder in the first place.”

Mr Arthur replied: “So the policy intent is to allow first time buyers to compete more effectively. That is ultimately what the policy intent is.”

Michelle Thomson MSP, who declared an interest as an owner of buy to let property, said she believed there is evidence landlords are starting to leave the market.

She asked: “Do you undertake a risk assessment of tax changes based on setting out the risk, the probability of it occurring, and the impact if it does?”

Mr Arthur said: “We consider what the behavioural impacts are going to be both in revenue and, as I set out with relation to the framework for tax, how it relates to wider objectives as a government.”

Ms Thomson added: “But looking at it from the other side of the fence, there is evidence that landlords are starting to leave the market and that will absolutely have an impact on available supply, and therefore rents.

“I am very supportive of what the Scottish Government is trying to achieve, but there has to be an assessment of the effects, behavioural effects and so on.

“And thus far, I haven’t been convinced there’s a recognition of that, and I certainly haven’t seen any data that would support that in terms of risk.”

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