Opposition tax policies will damage Scotland

Published in The Scotsman, Association Chairman, Tim Jackson writes that opposition tax policies will be damaging to Scotland.

"The Chancellor's Budget decsion to increase the threshold at which the 40p income tax level applies from £42,385 to £45,000 is a step towards achieving the Conservatives' General Election manifesto promise of increasing the threshold to £50,000 by 2020.

"It addresses an unfairness in that when the 40p rate was introduced 25 years ago, it affected only one in 15 tax payers.  With the increase in wages, it now affects one in six taxpayers, such as key workers, that is doctors, teachers and the police.

"Within Scotland, only 2.5 million people out of a population of approximately 5.2 million pay income tax, with those earning above £42,385 accounting for 52 per cent of all income tax paid.  The SNP, Scottish Labour Party and Scottish Liberal Party's decision to oppose the increase to the 40p threshold therefore demonstrates that only those paying income tax will continue to be squeezed and also their failure to grasp that higher taxes lead to lower returns.  When, for example, despite all their opposition, the chancellor cut the 50p income tax rate to 45p the tax take actually increased by £8 billion.

"The opposition parties also choose to forget that it is the Conservative Government that has introduced the National Living Wage and is increasing the income tax threshold from £11,000 to £11,500 next year - cutting taxes for every single tax payer in Scotland.  This is in contrast to Labour and Liberal proposals to increase income tax for everybody, regardless of tax band.

"Ruth Davidson has made it clear the Scottish Conservatives' policy is that Scottish tax payers should pay no more tax than elsewhere in the UK.

"Regrettably, the same opposition parties' support for higher income tax rates in Scotland than in the rest of the UK will be damaging to both the economy and Scotland's tax take.  It will hardly make Scotland an attractive place for inward investment or a place for workers where ambition is properly rewarded."