A Scrutiny Report on the 2019 Budget has been published today. The report includes a number of recommendations to the Treasury Minister, including changes to stamp duty, the personal tax system, and a recommendation that the Minister should change government spending plans in 2019 to resolve the public sector pay dispute.
The report by the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel comments on all parts of the Budget, with a particular focus on reform of the tax system, marginal relief for non-residents, stamp duty and the States Reserves.
The Panel has lodged an amendment to the Budget to simplify the stamp duty system by reducing the number of stamp duty bands. The amendment also targets the slower, middle part of the property market, where the Panel has proposed reducing stamp duty to encourage people to upsize. This in turn would release much needed supply at the lower end of the market.
The 2019 Budget is due to be debated in the week of 3rd December.
Senator Kristina Moore, Chairman of the Panel, said: “We found the 2019 Budget to be a wait and see proposal. At the same time as we are hearing from ministers that tax rises are inevitable, the Budget amasses considerable sums of public money and sets it aside for use on another day, rather than tackling pressing issues such as public sector pay that would make a difference to people’s lives.
On some of the key matters included in the Council of Ministers’ Common Strategic Policy, such as the future of the economy, measures to boost productivity and harness inflation, we found the Budget to be silent.
By listening to the public and understanding the issues of the day, we have chosen to propose an amendment simplifying the stamp duty rates, it is our belief that if the Assembly backs our plan, it will encourage some positive change within the property market. It is a single issue, we would have liked to do more, however we have had to work within our own resource constraints.”