Fergusson reacts to draft Scottish budget

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Yesterday (Thursday) saw the publication of the Scottish Government’s draft Budget for 2015/16, which includes, for the first time, the new rates of the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax which will replace Scottish Stamp Duty from April 2015.

Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Alex Fergusson said reacted yesterday and said: “The Scotland Act 2012 devolved power over Stamp Duty and Landfill Taxes as part of the greatest transfer of fiscal powers in over 300 years. As part of his draft Budget, Finance Secretary John Swinney announced that non-residential taxation would rise to 4.5% for commercial property, including farms, costing more than £350,000.

“Because Dumfries and Galloway has many areas with high quality land, many farms being sold are likely to fall in the higher taxation bracket. Some farms could see as much as a 6% or £10,000 rise in their tax bill.

“As always, the devil will be in the detail, but today’s budget does appear to constitute a considerable tax rise on the better farms being sold in the Region.

“While I very much welcome the reduction in taxes for residential properties, this would appear to have come at the expense of tax rises on larger farms. Our local economy needs a buoyant agricultural property market and putting an extra tax burden on farms is not likely to help, especially when it is coupled with the reduction in CAP support that we are facing over the next 5 years.”