SNP Government fails to publish March revenue figures from Swinney’s Land & Buildings Transactions Tax

Finance Secretary, John Swinney’s first effort at creating a tax was his replacement for the British Stamp Duty – the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax [LBTT].

This came into effect on 1st April 2015, since which Revenue Scotland, which describes itself as ‘an open and transparent organisation’ has wihtout fail published each month’s revenue takings from this tax on the first day of the following month – until now.

This tax has been shown to have been underperforming on official expectations, with Mr Swinney claiming that at its first year end, it would still be seen to have delivered to target.

But the figures for the March revenue takings were not published on the sue date of 1st April and ae  now slated for 22nd April – arguably too close to the Scottish Election date of 5th May 2016 to make much of an impact.

Not surprisingly, the SNP has been accused of ‘burying bad news’ at election time to avoid fresh questions over this failing housebuying tax.

The delay in publication of the Mach figures – the month that will reveal the complete first year takings from this tax – means that the SNP governement has avoided having to admit that revenues for the tax have fallen short of original estimates – leaving a multi-million pound black hole in Scotland’s finances.

Estimates suggest that the Swinney tax will fall short by between £38mM and £42M on its original claim that LBTT would collect £235M in 2015-16.

The Scottish Conservatives – on the attack on the ‘burying bad news’ tactic – has warned repeatedly of the damage to house sales revenue and to the market that the Swiney LBTT could do.

Party leader, Ruth Davidson, says: ‘The SNP’s approach in this election campaign has been to bury bad news and spin its way back into office. It is the action of an arrogant governing party which has spent too long in power.

‘These figures were published regularly at the end of each month for the last eleven months. Why suddenly the silence now?

‘We know the SNP tried to hide the truth over its negotiations with Chinese firms. Now we discover that information on its failed house-buying tax is missing.

‘Voters are entitled to draw the conclusion that this is a party which is trying to run away from any inconvenient truths.

‘Our own calculations suggest that the SNP’s black hole is between £38m and $42m.

‘If the SNP wants to challenge that then it knows how – stop hiding the facts, and publish the truth.’

For Argyll understands that industry figures are shortly to be released showing a fall in house prices in Scotland from January 2016, which would be the first fall since June 2015.

It may be that the fall in house prices has overcome sales volume figures in further reducing the tax take from LBTT. We will see when these figures are released later in the week – and Scotland will see the measure of Mr Swinney’s capability in tax making on 22nd April – if indeed the March figures for LBTT are released on that date.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • It is unfortunate that the Scottish Government does not seem to understand that punitive taxation causes people to change behavior. The people they attempt to persecute are usually those that can afford a choice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

    Arfur Sixpence April 18, 2016 1:36 pm Reply
  • Revenue Scotland is a non-ministerial department, so I don’t quite understand why Swinney, the SNP or the Scottish Government can be accused of burying bad news. I can understand why political opponents might try to make that charge, but what explanation did Revenue Scotland give for the delay in publication?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

    jake April 18, 2016 1:42 pm Reply
    • Is HMRC a non-ministerial department too? I only ask because of the attention that Angus Robertson has been paying to it recently – is it directly run by the government?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      JB April 18, 2016 9:45 pm Reply
  • Foreign Argyll ..”‘Our own calculations suggest that the SNP’s black hole is between £38m and $42m.”
    Is this when you send your money to Panama? What is the exchange rate these days?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

    No Cheese Here April 18, 2016 1:51 pm Reply
    • Don’t you just love politics? Ruth Davidson originally claimed the LBTT was a “tax grab”…if the revenue predictions are anything to go by it was anything but…so now it’s a “black hole”.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

      jake April 18, 2016 2:04 pm Reply
      • Not necessarily a contradiction, perhaps just the SNP are as incompetent at land grabs as everything else?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

        Lundavra April 18, 2016 4:46 pm Reply
    • NCH, no manifesto, hidden agenda, don’t publish anything that may cause criticism, the LBTT tax figures have been published monthly so why stop now just before an election?
      If there is nothing to hide publish the full year figures, domestic housing and commercial separately. The voters will make their own minds up.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4

      richard April 18, 2016 2:11 pm Reply
      • Yes we will make our minds up Dick and we certainly won’t be voting for Yoonionist charlatans. VOTE SNP 1&2.
        The only foreseeable problem the electorate have is whether to vote in with the clowns like Hameron and Darling heading that up or vote out with jokers like Johnson and Farage heading that up!!
        Solution Independence now for Scotland and end the Madness of Wastemonster.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 11

        Hugh Jazz April 18, 2016 4:26 pm Reply
        • Tartan charlatans being, of course, miles better.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

          Robert Wakeham April 18, 2016 5:23 pm Reply
          • You make me laugh,Robert.
            I’m sure you don’t mean too!!

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

            Hugh Jazz April 18, 2016 5:46 pm
  • It is a bad thing they haven’t been open and transparent, but is it a bad thing the tax hasn’t raised as much? On the one hand we complain that house prices are way too high, so if average house prices have reduced isn’t that a good thing for affordability by ‘hard working families’?

    If the tax has changed behaviour and people aren’t moving so often from larger, more expensive houses that are maybe reducing in value and extending instead, isn’t that a good thing?

    It seems the measure of success of this tax is that it takes more than before and because of the progressive nature of it, hits those in bigger houses harder. I.e., it can be deemed a success if it extracts more money and perpetuates the property purchasing behaviours that went before. That doesn’t sound progressive at all.

    I hope it takes less money. It might be a wake up call that if the Government wants to generate meaningful income it has to take a little bit from a very large amount of people, including those on low incomes, because expecting it to come from a relatively few weathier people is not a strategy that works very well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

    Jerry McIver April 18, 2016 1:52 pm Reply
  • Isn’t this wee Blog a hoot. Slags off everything the SNP do or don’t whilst talking up the discredited cabal that is Wastemonster and its men in tights!
    Write about this- Chilcot Enquiry,why the unacceptable delay?
    Ukok,lying like a rug.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

    Hugh Jazz April 18, 2016 4:29 pm Reply
  • I would advise everyone to enjoy and take in the atmosphere of this,the penultimate UK election.
    The 2017 Council elections shall be the last as the result will give us the Mandate to end the Yoonion.
    Dick knows this to be fact,as rumour has it,one of his toys were found in Orkney this morning!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

    Hugh Jazz April 18, 2016 4:45 pm Reply
    • Are you sure that you don’t mean’….shall be the last as the result will give us the mandate to end democracy’

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

      Robert Wakeham April 18, 2016 5:21 pm Reply
      • But democracy was fine when useless Liebour screwed Scotland for 50 years?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

        Hugh Jazz April 18, 2016 5:42 pm Reply
  • HJ Did you get this forecast from the same source you got the Sunday oil price from?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

    JimB April 18, 2016 5:28 pm Reply
    • Here’s another fact,latest polls Scotland in=55%. Scotland out=35% .
      I think there will be some”fun” in the very near future.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

      Hugh Jazz April 18, 2016 5:44 pm Reply
      • HJ

        What Poll ??

        Prof Curtice the SNP pollster guru published a very interesting analysis a few weeks ago when he stated :

        ‘It appears that despite the widespread support for a powerful Scottish Parliament, still well under half explicitly back the idea of leaving the UK. Even amongst those who say they voted Yes to independence in the referendum only 74% go on to say that they want Scotland to be ‘separate from the UK…… However, it appears the party still faces a challenge in convincing the majority of voters in Scotland that the country should seek to leave the UK’.

        This confirms there is a significant tranche of voters who will vote FOR the SNP in the Holyrood elections but would vote NO in the event of Indy ref(2) hence his conclusion, shared by many other political analysts, that Indyref(2) would fail

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

        Scotnat April 18, 2016 6:01 pm Reply
        • The poll will be media knowledge tomorrow.
          You better tell Kez not to campaign for independence if Brexit. She seems keen on the Isea.
          By the way,when are the Spineless Scottish MSM going to ask the Tankette Commander if she supports in or out?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

          Hugh Jazz April 18, 2016 7:01 pm Reply
  • It is a pointless exercise holding back the publication of these figures until today (22nd April) as my I completed and posted my postal vote last Monday (18th April).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Treble T April 22, 2016 11:37 am Reply

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