SNP told ‘the stats don’t lie’ after figures show tax claim is ‘bogus’

An SNP claim that the majority of Scots pay less tax than the rest of the UK has been rubbished by a rival party.

According to analysis by the Scottish Conservatives, the claim no longer applies due to rising wages. Last year’s SNP budget meant that anyone earning above £27,850 a year pays more income tax than someone on the same salary elsewhere in the UK.

But rising wages means that now, the median annual salary in Scotland is £29,675. As a result, a claim by former deputy chair of the SNP John Swinney made when he announced the budget can no longer be true. Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary Liz Smith MSP said: “The stats don’t lie: John Swinney’s claim a year ago that the majority of Scots pay less income tax under the SNP is simply bogus.

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“The reality is the point at which workers in Scotland pay more tax than they would in England is almost £2,000 below the median annual wage.

“For years, the SNP have tried to justify the damaging and ever-widening tax gap with the rest of the UK on the grounds that those on average earnings were paying less – albeit by a miniscule amount. Now even that claim doesn’t stack up.”

Introducing the 2023-24 budget to Holyrood in December 2022, Mr Swinney said: “The majority of people in Scotland will still pay less in taxation than if they lived in the rest of the United Kingdom.”

The rise in salary represents an increase of 6.4 percent on the year prior. It comes as the SNP reels from Humza Yousaf’s plan to increase taxes to fill a £1.5billion hole in the Scottish government’s finances.

The party of Scottish Independence reportedly intends to introduce a 44 percent band north of the border from April. It could be applied to Scots’ earnings between around £75,000 and £125,140, when the 47 percent top rate kicks in.

Shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray warned the new levy could accelerate a “brain drain” from Scotland, teling the Evening Standard: “The SNP already have Scots paying the highest tax rates anywhere in the UK, and their failure to grow Scotland’s economy mean they’re looking to increase it even more.

“They need to grow the tax base not milk it with the consequence of more brain drain to London.”

Conservatives have accused Mr Yousaf of trying to “tax his way out” of trouble after “astonishing mismanagement” of Scotland’s finances.

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The SNP website lists several offerings for people in Scotland that are not available south of the border, including free bus travel for under-22s, free sanitary products and free tuition.

A Scottish government spokesperson said of next week’s budget: “The Budget will be set out on Tuesday by the Deputy First Minister.

“She has been very clear Scotland is facing the most challenging budget settlement since devolution because of sustained high inflation and a UK Government autumn statement that failed to deliver the investment needed in Scotland’s public services.

“We are proud that Scotland already has the most progressive income tax system in the UK, protecting those who earn less and asking those who earn more to contribute more. This in turn allows us to provide a more comprehensive set of services than in the rest of the UK.”

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