Holyrood announces Scottish Budget statement

Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay delivered the Scottish Government’s Budget Statement in Holyrood on 14 December 2017.

Whilst the Chancellor of the Exchequer in Westminster tends to steal much of the financial lime-light, Mr Mackay was keen to flex his fiscal muscles; confirming as he did new bands and rates of Income Tax for individuals resident in Scotland.

From April 2018 Scottish earners will have to contend with five income tax bands and a new top rate of 46 per cent.

The full rates for 2018/19 will be:

Income tax rateBand
19%£11,850 – 13,850
20%£13,850 – 24,000
21%£24,000 – 44,273
41%£44,273 – 150,000

Away from the Income Tax headlines, housing drew some focus with a number of specific announcements:

  • Replicating Philip Hammond’s November SDLT giveaway, first time buyers in Scotland will pay no Land and Buildings Transaction Tax on purchases of property under £175,000.
  • Affordable homes building is to be bolstered with £756m
  • £50m has been allocated to ending homelessness over the next five years

Additionally, the Scottish Government continued to opt for a different approach to its counterpart in Westminster so-far-as Universal Credit is concerned.

In this respect the Budget book re-stated:

“Using powers available to us to mitigate some of the worst consequences of those changes introduced by the UK Government as part of Universal Credit, we are giving Scottish applicants more choice over how payments are made, such as to allow for twice-monthly payments and managed payments to landlords.

We have also extended the Scottish Welfare Fund on an interim basis to help 18-21 year olds adversely affected by the UK Government’s decision to end entitlement for housing costs within Universal Credit for young people”.

All of which will no-doubt come as a great relief to landlords and tenants struggling to cope with the transition to Universal Credit.

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