Stamp duty holiday to end in Scotland this month as planned

Houses for sale. Credit: ITV News

In Wednesday's budget announcement, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the relief for property purchases would now continue until the end of June. However, the Finance Secretary for Scotland, Kate Forbes, said the temporary reduction to Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) - the equivalent of stamp duty in Scotland - would still end in March.

Within the Budget, the Chancellor said the Scottish Government would get an additional £1.2 billion. Ms Forbes said part of that cash had already been accounted for - or "baked in" - to the spending plans she announced at the end of January in the Scottish budget.

As part of that, the Finance Secretary said she had made the "big commitment" to extend business rates relief for a full year - adding Mr Sunak was only doing this for three months.

In Scotland, Ms Forbes has pledged that retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation businesses will pay no rates during 2021-22, saying this had been the "number one ask from business".

When asked if she would replicate extended reductions in stamp duty, Ms Forbes said in Scotland the changes would end on March 31, as planned.

Last July, the Scottish Finance Secretary announced the threshold at which buyers must start to pay LBTT would increase from £145,000 to £250,000 - a move which she said at the time would mean 80% of buyers would not pay anything under the levy.

That was announced in the wake of a similar announcement from the UK Government.

And Mr Sunak on Wednesday told MPs that the the stamp duty holiday, which had been due to end on March 31, would now remain in place until the end of June, with a "tapered" period running until September.

That will mean the current "nil rate" stamp duty band at £500,000 in England and Northern Ireland will remain in place until June 30.

Estate agents Rightmove estimated that about 300,000 transactions in England could benefit from that stamp duty extension, with buyers potentially saving an additional £1.75 billion.

In an interview, Ms Forbes said there were no plans to replicate the extension north of the border.

The Finance Secretary said, "We will stick to that original plan, that was set out clearly. It was intended to support the recovery of the residential property market this financial year, that has been achieved."

She added, "The nil rate band was already lower in Scotland, and yet we have seen record high levels of transactions and house purchases, so it has achieved its purpose.

"But, ultimately, when it comes to tax policy, I have choices. The number one ask from business was to extend the 100% relief on non-domestic rates, that's what I have done alongside freezing council tax to help households in need so those are our choices in taxation."