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Jatinder Chall: Putting a lid on business rates

Mackay must follow Hammond when it comes to business rates

It might have got a little lost in the controversy over tax rises for the self-employed , which broke a Conservative manifesto promise not to raise National Insurance Contributions, but Phillip Hammond’s budget did address another growing controversy – spiralling business rates.

Unfortunately he could only take action in England – meaning it’s critical for Scotland’s financial future that Derek Mackay does the same.

A long-delayed evaluation of property values had left some businesses facing tax rises of 350% or more – threatening to forcing many out of business.

The Chancellor this week announced that any businesses coming out of small business rate relief as a result of the imminent property values revaluation south of the border will see tax increases capped at £50 per month.

He also announced a £300m hardship fund for councils to allow them to provide discretional relief to affected businesses.

These changes will not affect us here in Scotland, where business rates are devolved to the Scottish Government. But businesses here are currently undergoing a similar revaluation. And so far, Derek Mackay has only promised to protect some of them.

Last month the Holyrood finance secretary promised to cap rate rises for the tourism and energy sectors.

He also announced appeals against revaluation will be free in Scotland, unlike in other parts of the UK.

He didn’t go far enough.

Granted, Philip Hammond did single one sector out for special treatment – with pubs set to get a discount on their rates – but apart from that every business benefits equally from the new protections.

We need that in Scotland too.

Derek Mackay has promised to work with local authorities to introduce a business rate system which supports key local economic sectors and here in Glasgow key sectors like design and engineering, life sciences and financial services need the same support which has already been offered to the tourism and energy sectors.

Whether our future lies in independence or within the United Kingdom businesses like these are critical to our financial future and we desperately need to attract, retain and support them.

The budget also handed the Scottish government an extra £350m of spending power and some of that windfall needs to go towards matching England’s small business rate relief cap– ensuring rates do not increase by more than £50 a month. The government also needs to offer further tax relief for small start-ups firms that provide employment and training to their staff.

The last thing we want is for our best young businesses to relocate south of the border for tax reasons – that’s why it’s critical that the Scottish Government keeps down business rates if we are to keep up with the rest of the UK.

Our Residential Property Services include:-

•  Purchase and sale of houses, plots or land;
•  Builder’s or Developer’s Missives;
•  Re-mortgages;
•  Discharge of secured loans on repayment;
•  Creation of new securities/mortgage deeds;
•  Leases on domestic property;
•  Transfers of Property;
•  Arranging Surveys;
•  Local Authority house purchases;
•  Ownership Enquiries; and
•  Queries regarding title conditions.

We can provide a fixed quotation for residential legal fees so that you do not have to worry about unexpected costs. Regardless of your property question our friendly team will be happy to talk through the situation and let you know of how we can progress.

Remember: There’s a difference between cheap conveyancing solicitors and good value conveyancing solicitors.

Some firms delegate property work to inexperienced and junior staff – sometimes to people who aren’t even qualified solicitors. Other solicitors can turn out to be based hundreds of miles away from you and it can be impossible to contact them at all, let alone meet them face to face.

Macrae & Kaur are unique amongst Glasgow solicitors in that all of our property work is carried out by senior partners, highly-experienced property solicitors who really know Glasgow and are always available to meet you in person.

Conveyancing fees

Our conveyancing fees are competitively priced, your first consultation together with submitting offers and noting interest is free. We promise total fee transparency – all costs will be laid out clearly before you make a commitment and we do not start charging extras once you have signed up.

Frequently Asked Questions
Will I have to pay Additional Dwelling Supplement?

If you have not sold your main residence on the day you complete your new purchase you'll have to pay ADS. This is because you own 2 properties. You can apply for a refund if you sell your previous main home within 18 months.

How long does the Conveyancing process take?

The conveyancing process usually takes between 6 and 12 weeks but will vary. Depending on your situation, your case can take much longer than 6-12 weeks. Conveyancing can take a long time for many reasons. Each step of the process must be completed correctly to avoid even further delay.

Do I have to pay anything upfront?

Our firm does not charge any upfront fees for our service. The  'no completion, no fee' means you only need to pay us on the completion date.

Can I Buy and Sell at the same time?

In an ideal world, you’d sell your home the minute you put it on the market and then have all the time you need to find your next dream home while your buyers wait patiently until you’re ready to move. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world and in most cases you’ll need to sell and buy at the same time. This results in a housing chain. While not uncommon, property chains can cause significant headaches. So if you’re planning to buy and sell your house at the same time, make sure you’re prepared.  We can help keep everything runs smoothly and according to plan.

How much Land and Building Transaction Tax will I need to pay?

The residential LBTT rates are based on the purchase price bands, with a ceiling for nil rates set at £145,000 A relief for first-time buyers is available, which increases the residential nil rate band of LBTT to £175,000.The availability of the relief will result in a reduction in tax of up to £600 for qualifying first-time buyers, relative to the rates which would have otherwise applied.

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