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Scottish Rate Resolution

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 4th March 2020.

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Photo of Dean Lockhart Dean Lockhart Conservative

In the budget statement, the cabinet secretary claimed that the SNP has introduced

“the most progressive, fair and balanced income tax system in the UK”—[

Official Report

, 6 February 2020; c 69.]

and that the SNP’s tax policies will help to promote wellbeing in Scotland. Both those claims are simply untrue. With respect to income tax, according to the Scottish Parliament information centre, Scottish taxpayers will this year pay £650 million more in income tax than their counterparts elsewhere in the UK, and everyone who earns more than £27,000 will pay more income tax. Today’s Scottish tax resolution will entrench that tax gap and tax burden.

Those who supposedly pay less income tax in Scotland—whom the SNP use as the basis for saying that its system is fair—pay 50p a week less. That amount has already been more than wiped out by increases to council tax under the SNP. That SNP income tax policy actually costs more to administer than it does to provide that saving of 50p a week.

The reality is that the SNP has cynically manipulated the tax system in Scotland for the sake of a cheap political line. It is a line that the cabinet secretary and others, including Gordon MacDonald, repeat ad nauseam to show that the majority of taxpayers in Scotland pay less tax, when the reality is that, overall, Scottish tax payers are paying £650 million more a year than their counterparts in the rest of the UK.

I will give way to the cabinet secretary, because I would like her to explain why that is the case, as it is, according to SPICe.