The Scottish Government will set out its plans on income tax policy and other devolved tax policies in future budgets.
Engagement is one of our core principles of effective tax policy making, as set out in our tax strategy document, “Framework for Tax”. Engagement is crucial, and is integral to the Scottish Government’s budget process. We will engage with a wide variety of stakeholders on tax policy ahead of the budget for 2023-24, and we will update the chamber as per the usual budget process.
The Scottish National Party’s income tax changes have seen Scottish income tax payers pay an extra £900 million over the past three years. According to the Scottish Parliament’s researchers, that has resulted in a net benefit of just £170 million. Will the Scottish Government therefore learn from that mistake and allow Scots to keep more pounds in their pockets?
The member should perhaps consult the record and learn the fact of the matter, which is that the majority of people in Scotland pay less in income tax than they would if they lived in other parts of the United Kingdom. Further, they enjoy a range of benefits that people in Tory-controlled England can only dream of. They do not have to pay tuition fees or prescription charges and they benefit from a range of other measures that this Government has delivered, and which we know that, if they had even a sniff of power in this Parliament, the Tories would cast away in order to give tax cuts to the wealthiest.
It is welcome that the Scottish Government’s priority continues to be delivering a fairer and more progressive tax system. At a time when living costs are rising, people on lower incomes should not be paying more tax. Can the minister confirm that the majority of people in Scotland will continue to pay less income tax this year than they would if they lived elsewhere in the UK?