SNP 'making a killing from broken housing market', Conservatives claim

The party has called for the tax threshold on house buyers to be permanently increased.

SNP ‘making a killing from broken housing market’, Scottish Conservatives claim iStock

The Scottish Government has been accused of “making a killing from a broken housing market”.

The claim was made by the Scottish Conservatives, who have called for the threshold for paying tax on house buyers in the country to be raised.

It is in response to the amount of money having been raised by the Government through the Land and Buildings Transactions Tax (LBTT) increasing by 60% in the space of six years, according to the party.

They said that they would increase the threshold to £250,000, suggesting that by doing so, it would save Scots up to £2,100 when they buy a home.

However, the Scottish Government has said that the tax helps support vital public services in Scotland.

A spokesperson also explained that first-time buyers pay no LBTT on the first £175,000 spent on a property in Scotland.

According to figures highlighted by the Conservatives, since LBTT was introduced in April 2015, the amount it has raised has risen from £415.8m in 2015/2016 to £666.9m in 2021/2022.

It represents an increase of £251.1m, during which period LBTT thresholds have remained unchanged and average Scottish house prices have risen by 15%.

Scottish Conservative housing spokesperson Miles Briggs described the figures as “shocking”, with home ownership being more difficult.

“At a time when rising house prices are making home ownership unaffordable for so many Scots, it is shocking to see the SNP Government making such a huge tax windfall,” he said.

“This SNP Government is making a killing from a broken housing market they created by failing to meet their own affordable house-building promises.

“Home-buyers tax revenue has doubled since 2015, yet the SNP have closed schemes like Help to Buy and the First Home Fund designed to help first-time buyers.

“The Scottish Conservatives – Scotland’s real alternative – want to increase the tax threshold to £250,000, to save Scots up to £2,100 when they buy a home.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said the tax measures are intended to deliver “stability and certainty” for taxpayers.

“Revenue raised from Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) supports vital public services in Scotland. That includes helping ensure good quality housing is available and since 2007 the Scottish Government has delivered 111,750 affordable homes,” they said.

“The progressive rates and bands which the Scottish Government has introduced for LBTT have prioritised support for first-time buyers and assisted people as they progress through the property market. 

“First time buyers pay no LBTT on the first £175,000 spent on a property in Scotland, saving up to £600 in LBTT, with most first time buyers paying no LBTT at all as a result.  

“The Scottish Government’s tax measures are intended to deliver stability and certainty for taxpayers.

“The Scottish Government continues to consider all available evidence on the impact of the arrangements for LBTT on Scotland’s housing market.”