Thank you, convener.
United Kingdom stamp duty land tax legislation includes a number of miscellaneous reliefs that apply only in relation to specific organisations or types of property. The purpose of the draft order is to include in our land and buildings transaction tax legislation similar miscellaneous reliefs, using the power in section 27(3)(a) of the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (Scotland) Act 2013.
There are five reliefs. The first is friendly societies relief, which provides relief from LBTT where two or more registered friendly societies amalgamate. The second is building societies relief, which provides relief where two or more building societies amalgamate. The third is visiting forces and international military headquarters relief, which provides relief for land transactions involving the building or enlarging of barracks or camps for a visiting force, to facilitate the training of a visiting force or to promote the health or efficiency of a visiting force.
The fourth is relief for property that is accepted in satisfaction of tax. Under section 11A of the National Heritage Act 1980, which extends to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, a land transaction that is entered into by any museum, art gallery, library or other similar institution is relieved from SDLT where property is offered to HM Revenue and Customs by a taxpayer in respect of tax. The property may be transferred to one of a range of heritage bodies. Some Government-sponsored cultural and heritage bodies in Scotland have powers to acquire land or buildings. That includes acquiring as acceptances in lieu, and usually requires the specific agreement of ministers.
If LBTT was to be incurred by cultural and heritage bodies in such cases, any acceptance of land or buildings in lieu would result in a liability on the part of the accepting body to pay LBTT on the acquisition. That would, in effect, be a charge on the public purse. The relief from LBTT, which is an equivalent provision to that which is currently in place for SDLT, has therefore been added to avoid that outcome.
The fifth relief is lighthouses relief. Under section 221 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, which extends to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, a land transaction is relieved from SDLT if it is entered into by, or under the direction of, the general lighthouse authorities—including the commissioners of northern lighthouses, who oversee the lighthouse infrastructure in Scotland—for the purpose of carrying on services that are funded through the general lighthouse fund.
The Northern Lighthouse Board has confirmed that, given the widely distributed network of lighthouses and the need for regular changes to reflect changes in shipping traffic to ensure the continued safety of navigation, it has a regular number of land transactions and that the position will continue in the future. On rare occasions, the board may be directed by the secretary of state to undertake activity that may require such transactions. The relief from LBTT has therefore been included to deal with such circumstances.
Finally, the draft order also makes two amendments to existing reliefs under the 2013 act. First, to support crofting in Scotland, it provides for full relief from LBTT for transactions involving the crofting community right to buy under which two or more crofts are bought, rather than the partial effect that is available under SDLT. Secondly, the draft order also makes a minor but crucial amendment to the relief for certain acquisitions by registered social landlords to ensure that if any one of the conditions is satisfied, the relief is available.