Will Scotland be the most taxed part of the UK?

Three of the four positions in the SNP’s tax paper would hit basic rate payers with higher taxes. Two of these approaches would see tax increase on everyone earning over £24,000 and another on everyone earning over £27,000.

It's clear that business and the public do not support higher taxes that would damage our economy. A Federation of Small Business survey found that 79 per cent of business owners do not want higher income tax in Scotland and a Survation poll found that only 22 per cent of respondents would support higher taxes.

In contrast since 2010, Conservative led governments have cut income tax by £1,005 for basic rate payers in Scotland. Since 2010/11 the personal allowance has increased from £6,475 to £11,500 in 2017/18.

The SNP Government’s own analysis found that increasing the additional rate of tax could result in lower revenues. The paper suggested that a 5p rise would lose £24 million under a high behavioral response model.

The SNP Government’s block grant will be protected in real terms next year – so any cuts they make are out of choice rather than necessity. The Scottish Government’s budget will increase by £479 million in 2018/19 – a 0.1 per cent increase in real terms.

Even the most radical of the SNP’s tax policies would only increase income tax revenue by 2 per cent. Approach 3 would raise taxes on half of all taxpayers but raise only £255 million in additional public spending. The Scottish Government’s draft Budget 2017/18 projected income tax receipts of £12.3 billion in 2018/19.

65 per cent of we Scots voted in the 2016 election for the two parties, that pledged in their manifesto not to increase the basic rate during the lifetime of the parliament. Now only the Scottish Conservatives are on the side of the majority of the Scottish people. The SNP have no democratic mandate to impose austere tax rises on low and middle earners in Scotland.

The SNP seem shockingly keen to make Scotland the most taxed part of the UK. Is this what the SNP mean when they say that they are stronger for Scotland?

Cllr Alastair Redman