‘Pay more, get less’... with SNP government
THE SNP has been challenged to end the tax misery of middle Scotland and give hard-working families a break.
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay will unveil his Budget on Wednesday, amid growing pressure to pass on UK tax cuts.
Last night, opponents said the SNP was running a ‘pay more, get less’ government, with increasing taxes failing to lead to improved public services.
The Scots Tories also urged Mr Mackay to use almost £1 billion from the UK Government to ease the pressure on family budgets.
In October, Chancellor Philip Hammond raised the threshold for paying the 40 per cent higher rate of tax to £50,000 a year.
By contrast, Scots pay 41 per cent on annual earnings above £43,430.
At present, Scots earning £50,000 pay £850 more than they would in England. However, if Mr Mackay refuses to raise the threshold in Scotland, that will rise to £1,500.
Mr Hammond also unveiled a spending spree in his October Budget, which will deliver a cash windfall for Scotland.
Murdo Fraser, Scottish Tory finance spokesman, said: ‘The SNP has made Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK, yet people are still waiting months for cancer diagnoses.
‘The lack of improvement of public services demonstrates beyond all doubt that the SNP is a pay more, get less government.
‘The SNP has received an enormous budget boost this year of almost £1 billion.
‘The SNP must give taxpayers a fair deal on taxation, invest in public services and no new tax rises.’
With the SNP a minority government, Mr Mackay must win support for his Budget from at least one opposition party. He is understood to be confident of a deal with the Greens, but Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie is demanding the abolition of council tax, a tourist tax and changes to let councils keep business rates raised.
The Lib Dems have pulled out of talks after the SNP refused to rule out an independence referendum.
Willie Rennie, Scots Lib Dem leader, said: ‘We offered clear priorities to invest in people through education and mental health. But the SNP insisted their damaging plan for an independence referendum had to stay on the table.’
James Kelly, Scottish Labour’s finance spokesman, said: ‘The economy has stagnated, our NHS is in crisis, headteachers are writing to parents about unprecedented cuts, our rail system is on its knees and one in four children in Scotland are living in poverty.
‘The time for tinkering at the edges is over.’
Church leaders, campaigners and academics also signed a letter to Mr Mackay, calling for an income supplement to raise money to tackle child poverty.
Mr Mackay said: ‘The Budget will protect vital public services and prioritise spending on health, education and economic investment.’