Shameful attempt to suppress tax figures
NO issue is more sensitive in Scotland right now than the SNP’s ‘conversation’ about taxation.
In reality, of course, it’s a one-sided chat. On one side are the SNP, its Green acolytes, Labour and the Lib Dems. They are poised to enforce tax hikes that will make everyone earning £24,000 worse off.
On the other side are Scotland’s hardpressed workers, belts already tightened after years of pay restraint, braced for another assault on family budgets.
Against this febrile backdrop, a report from the National Audit Office emerged. It indicated an astonishing 507,000 Scots are – before this latest round of tax increases has even been implemented – already paying more income tax.
This is because Finance Secretary Derek Mackay refused to lift the level at which the 40p rate kicks in. People in England and Wales don’t pay 40p until they earn £45,000, while Scots are hit from £43,000. Yet late on Monday night, the NAO withdrew the report and now the SNP stands accused of bullying the spending watchdog into an about-face.
That 507,000 figure is far higher than the one the Scottish Government put on the number of Scots who would be affected. Its estimate was 366,000 – still a substantial number – would be affected. Could it be possible it got its figures horribly wrong?
The constant downward revision of the amount expected to be generated via the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax shows blunders can be made and the chaos over, for instance, the administration of the farm payments under the EU Common Agricultural Policy shows SNP governance can leave much to be desired.
Scottish Conservative finance spokesman Murdo Fraser is clear: ‘Once again we see this SNP Government trying to bully anyone who they disagree with.
‘The SNP have form for this and they need to learn that they cannot hide from their dreadful record in government.’
At best, the SNP position is that it has already hammered 366,000 for more tax. At worst, the NAO was right and more than half a million Scots are worse off already, with more pain to come when the fiscally incontinent cabal of Greens, Labour and Lib Dems are dragooned into hitting workers in the pocket again.
If the latter proves the case, the SNP is also responsible for a shameless attempt to nobble a critical report, adding insult to the public’s injury.