4 February 2016

Tories 'Hypocrisy' Criticised Over Attempt To Stop Fair Taxes

Banffshire & Buchan Coast SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the decision by the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs Committee to reject a Tory wrecking motion which sought to continue unfair tax exemptions for country estates.

Tory MSP Alex Fergusson attempted to remove a key part of the Land Reform Bill which will reinstate business rates for land used for shooting and deerstalking – estates which have benefited from an unfair exemption from tax following a move brought in by the Tories in 1994. This attempt was rejected by Committee members.

Commenting, Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“The Tory attempt to shield landowners from paying fair taxes is pure hypocrisy after David Cameron recently promised to crack down on tax evasion.

“There is no reason why shooting and deerstalking should be exempt from paying business rates when other businesses across Scotland are expected to pay their share – I’m glad that the Tory attempt to continue this unfair situation was rightly thrown out.

“During its scrutiny, the Rural Affairs Committee sought clarity from the Scottish Government, who confirmed that only larger businesses will pay rates while small businesses will receive rebates – making the Tory amendment totally unfounded.

“The Land Reform Bill will help make Scotland a fairer and more equal society. Land reform has delivered significant benefits to communities across Scotland since devolution and this Bill will go further, taking action to ensure the correct balance of land rights.”

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