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Swinney urged to ease burden on middle class homebuyers

Finance minister John Swinney is being urged to revise his new homebuyers tax to avoid penalising middle class families.

Swinney unveiled a radical new regime to replace Stamp Duty which he claimed would help first time buyers and be fairer than the old system.

But his Land and Buildings Transaction Tax was criticised for hitting aspiring homebuyers by bringing in a punitive level of tax for those buying a home above £325,000. They will be left worse off under the new system.

Now lobby group Homes for Scotland, which campaigns for the industry, wants Swinney to introduce  an additional tax band for homes priced between £250,000 and £500,000.

Chief executive Philip Hogg said he accepted the need to help those on the lower funds of the housing ladder.

But he said the introduction of 10 and 12 per cent bands for homes over £250,000 “will prove too punitive on the middle and upper market which generally comprises families with changing needs and aspirational movers”.

He added:  “It cannot simply be assumed that these households are able to raise the significant additional funds required at the proposed new rates.  As such, we are concerned this will result in damaging market stagnation at a time when Scotland already has an acute housing shortage.”

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