Will the First Minister join me in welcoming yesterday’s excellent announcement from the Prime Minister that the men and women in our armed forces who serve in Scotland on a tour of duty will now receive financial recompense from the United Kingdom Government in the tax year 2019-20, as a result of the increase in the tax rate that the Scottish National Party imposed last year?
I was wondering which welcome announcement from the Prime Minister the member was going to ask me to welcome.
The Tories talk about more highly paid members of our armed forces who, because of our progressive income tax system, pay a little bit more tax in Scotland, but we do not hear the Tories talking about the estimated 37,000 lower-paid Ministry of Defence personnel in England who now pay more tax than their counterparts in Scotland pay. Interestingly, I have not heard any suggestion that the Tories will compensate them for the fact that they are paying more tax in England than they would pay if they were based here in Scotland. I also do not hear the Tories saying that they will compensate MOD personnel in England for the free prescriptions that their counterparts in Scotland get, or for the access to free education that those who are ordinarily resident in Scotland get, which those in England do not get. MOD personnel, along with every public sector worker in Scotland, get a far better deal than their counterparts in England get. The Tories should reflect long and hard on that.