50p tax rate – Fact check
What is the SNP position on a 50p tax rate and has it changed ?
You may have noticed a lot of debate on tax. First of all I welcome a debate on tax and ways that we can raise additional revenue to invest in public services. However, I again point out that people should rightly ask the question of why should they pay more in tax when we are about to spend £200bn of that taxation on the renewal of weapons of mass destruction over the next 30 years, that equates to about £500M a year as Scotland’s share.
However we are where we are and for as long as we remain part of the UK policies such as this will be imposed upon us. That’s the context in which we set our budget and we shouldn’t ever lose scope of what more we can do if we free ourselves from the spending policies of vanity and waste pursued by successive UK governments for decades.
The debate on the 50p rate is growing, there is though an exercise ongoing by the Tories warning of a tax grab and the Labour Party saying that the Scottish Government are about to perform a U-turn.
The reality is that when in Government, the Government have a responsibly to make thought out decisions. The SNP policy on taxation is clear, a policy that was included in our 2016 manifesto which received the highest ever level of support in a Scottish election.
We said that if we were re-elected we would keep the upper rate of taxation at 45p for the 2017/18 budget. We did that. There’s no point setting increased levels of taxation if they don’t generate more revenue. The Scottish Government doesn’t have control over setting tax avoidance rules and we all know that the UK Government doesn’t exactly do the best job in this area.
So as a responsible Government what did we do? We said that we will put the time into investigating how we would stop people avoiding tax if we increase the upper rate from 45p to 50p e.g. There’s no point increasing tax if people can avoid paying it by simply paying it in another part of the UK. So we said we would investigate how to mitigate the risk and if we were convinced that this would be successful then this would be considered as part of the 2018/19 budget. No Uturn here, just a responsible Government doing exactly what it said it would do when we went to the polls last year.
Today our Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has asked opposition parties to constructively engage in the process and bring forward their proposals on taxation.