Paul Hutcheon's article on stamp duty land tax (SDLT) and offshore-based investors (How to save a fortune on stamp duty ...
don't buy the house, buy the company that owns it, News, June 24) is misguided, because SDLT had been paid according to the investors in question and this appears to undermine the point about the position of property investments when companies change hands. Of greater concern, however, is the suggestion by Andy Wightman of banning legal title for Scottish properties by companies unincorporated in the EU, which would certainly be damaging to the economy (and probably not legal under many trade agreements).
We are in a long period of recession or low growth in the economy. Unemployment is too high and nowhere more so than in the construction sector. Scotland needs capital investment in its built environment. The properties in Charlotte Square are, in fact, being renovated to a much higher standard and improved energy efficiency than previously – a policy voted for by the Scottish Parliament, apparently with little thought as to where the billions of property investment required needs to come from. Such investment will not come from Government to the degree needed and it will not come from the banks. The Scottish Government is right to resist calls to shut the door to non-EU investors and is also consulting on replacing SDLT in Scotland. It is crucial that Holyrood gets this new tax (Land & Buildings Transaction Tax) right and ensures it is competitive, transparent and easy to administer.
David Melhuish, director,
Scottish Property Federation
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