The Land And Buildings Transaction Tax: Proposed Relief For Green Freeports

Overview —

A response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on legislation to cut devolved LBTT taxes within Scottish Freeports


Craig Dalzell

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Common Weal entirely opposes the creation of Freeports in Scotland and we entirely oppose the Scottish Government’s endorsement of them and their plans to support them not just by failing to protest against the UK Government disrupting Scotland’s economic plans by offering tax breaks and other “incentives” to the companies moving their operations within the Freeport structures (and especially because those tax breaks will not apply directly to employees of those companies) but we are particularly outraged to discover that the Scottish Government plans to offer tax breaks to these companies using its own devolved powers (again, without offering anything to employees themselves).

This consultation itself is critically flawed in that it is not offering the public the opportunity to review the proposals themselves. It appears that the Scottish Government has already made up its mind that these tax breaks are to happen. Instead, the consultation asks the public to review the proposed legislation itself to determine if, as written, it will achieve the Government’s desired effect of allowing the tax breaks. This is not a job for the public, but for the legal and drafting clerks working for the Government. The role of the public should be to instruct the Government on how devolved powers should be used, not merely to ratify their decisions.

Common Weal has submitted our response to this consultation in good faith but we wish to again make our opposition to these plans perfectly clear and that even where we have answered in the affirmative that the legislation will result in the proposed tax break, this does not in any sense imply our endorsement of these plans.

The Scottish Government should not have agreed to the imposition of Freeports in Scotland and should not be supporting and subsidising them with devolved tax powers. Quite the opposite, devolved powers should be used to increase taxation on Freeport operations to compensate for the UK’s deliberate undermining of the Scottish economy

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