Shame­ful at­tempt to sup­press tax fig­ures

Scottish Daily Mail - - News -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.