Income Tax

– in the Scottish Parliament on 5th October 2017.

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Photo of Murdo Fraser Murdo Fraser Conservative

8. To ask the Scottish Government on what date it will publish its proposals for setting the level of income tax. (S5O-01342)

Photo of Derek Mackay Derek Mackay Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government will publish its draft budget for 2018-19 on 14 December 2017. That will, of course, include proposals for setting the rates and bands for Scottish income tax.

Photo of Murdo Fraser Murdo Fraser Conservative

The Scottish Government has written to all the Opposition parties asking us to set out our plans for income tax in advance of the budget. We are quite clear in the Conservative Party. We do not want Scottish taxes to be set at a higher rate than elsewhere in the United Kingdom. Given that we are showing the cabinet secretary what our plans are, why do we have to wait to hear what his are?

Photo of Derek Mackay Derek Mackay Scottish National Party

Murdo Fraser is right in as much as neither the Conservative Party nor the Labour Party has responded to the challenge to contribute to the debate on income tax. The only principle that the Tories have is to simultaneously cut taxes and spend more. That is the budget contribution from the Tories.

The Scottish Government has outlined our position and principles around taxation, which include certainty, collecting tax in a progressive fashion, supporting public services and not passing austerity on to those with the lowest incomes. In the budget process last year, the Opposition parties asked me to listen to them. I am listening, but they have to give a clear position in which the sums actually add up. The budget negotiations will be crucial in setting out our plans for Scotland, on which we will engage with the other parties.

I will put forward a discussion paper, and I hope that the other parties will engage in a mature and rational fashion to inform that debate. In that sense, the Scottish Government will show leadership, but also engage with other parties, as we should.