Derek Mackay’s first budget as finance secretary is assailed from all sides – even his own. Scottish Conservatives label Scotland the highest-taxed part of the UK; Labour’s Kezia Dugdale endorses higher Scottish taxes as part of a federal-style devolution of revenue-raising powers. Leading economist David Eiser pondered deeper economic issues.
Nicola Sturgeon has ruled out raising the additional (“top”) rate of tax to 50p, using similar arguments to those of George Osborne. But is she right to do so? A leading economist is suitably sceptical…but not that hostile.
Scottish universities, we learn, have a £60m annual funding gap yet ministers talk as if all young people should go free to university. But how is that wider access to higher education to be financed? A huge hike in taxes? Or what?
John Swinney, finance secretary, is about to borrow money to help finance new construction projects and stimulate growth and jobs just when the economy is turning down. It’s a sign of things to come as Holyrood gains more control over tax-and-spend.
As talks on the fiscal framework remain deadlocked, is John Swinney holding out for the best deal he can get or looking to rzeje3ct anything on offer for domestic political gain? A St Andrew’s House kremlinologist investigates.
The row over a 1p rise in income tax or SRIT has for once put the SNP and Scottish Government on the back foot. And that’s before increases in tax allowances kick in. This leaves local services painfully exposed – with worse to come. Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney need to revise their sums.
Scottish policy debate has moved into a new and noisier phase as the parties seek to differentiate themselves on tax. This greater fiscal candour is to be welcomed, even if it rips up the established ground rules of electoral politics. But this ain’t the whole story: control over benefits remains an outstanding issue.
The Scottish Rate of Income Tax is often said to be regressive and can only be progressive if the higher bands are raised. But the Financial Secretary’s decision to leave it at 10p flies in the face of evidence, argues a leading economic expert.