A new tax to replace stamp duty could be a bonus for homebuyers when Finance Secretary John Swinney sets out the Draft Scottish Budget for 2015/16 today. He is expected to focus on polices which will help to make Scotland a more prosperous country, tackle inequality and protect public services.
Scotland’s economy has returned to pre-recession levels, but the Scottish government says today’s budget will be set against the context of Westminster cuts by around 10 per cent in real terms over five years and capital spending cuts of over 25 per cent.
The budget will also include proposed tax rates and publish tax receipts forecasts for the first time, ahead of the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) and Scottish Landfill Tax (SLfT) coming into force on April 1, 2015.
Speaking ahead of his statement – in which he will indicate that Scotland is in a new phase of economic and political debate – Mr Swinney said: “We have seen a strengthening of Scotland’s economic performance over the last two years and currently have record levels of employment.
“However, major challenges in the economy still remain, compounded by the fact the public finances are under such pressure by the UK austerity programme.
“This budget follows unprecedented levels of political engagement not only on Scotland’s constitutional future but the wider priorities of the people of Scotland.
“What will lie at the heart of the budget will be a determination to make Scotland a prosperous and fairer country where the benefits of economic growth are not only maintained but are shared by everyone.
“Many of these aspirations will be taken forward within the budget and also within the setting of tax rates. The Land and Buildings Transaction Tax is the first tax created by the Scottish Parliament since before the 1707 union.
“The budget is a major landmark in taking forward the Government’s programme and is also a historic opportunity to set new tax rates for Scotland.”