Scots to get huge tax boost if Tories win Holyrood election

  • Douglas Ross’s party pledges to slash income tax by 1p in the pound 

More than 1.5million hard-working Scots will receive an enormous tax cut under plans set to be unveiled by the Scottish Conservatives, the Mail on Sunday can reveal.

In a bid to counter the SNP’s triple whammy of tax rises earlier this year, Douglas Ross’s party has pledged to slash income tax by one penny in the pound.

It would reduce the rate of tax from 21p to 20p, saving over half of Scottish taxpayers - or 1,566,000 workers - up to £171 in tax a year.

Mr Ross will set out the proposals - which he hopes will help to close the huge income tax gap between people living in England and those in Scotland - alongside Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the Scottish party’s manifesto launch in Edinburgh.

Speaking to The Mail on Sunday on the flagship plans, Mr Ross said: ‘The Scottish Conservatives are committed to cutting the 21p tax rate to 20p, to provide much-needed respite for hard-working Scots.

scots to get huge tax boost if tories win holyrood election

Fairness pledge: Douglas Ross wants Scots to pay no more tax than people in England

‘It’s the first step towards our ultimate goal of ensuring no worker in Scotland pays more in tax than they would elsewhere in the UK.’

He added: ‘Under the SNP, Scotland has become the highest taxed part of the UK – with anyone earning over £28,850 paying more than they would do south of the border.

‘This has hit individuals and families hard and is making it harder for Scotland’s NHS to recruit and retain doctors and dentists.

‘The SNP tax hikes are stifling economic growth and putting Scotland at a competitive disadvantage with the rest of the UK. This has to stop – and under the Scottish Conservatives it will.’

The Scottish Tory manifesto reads that the Scottish Conservatives would ‘deliver an immediate 1p cut in the intermediate basic rate of income tax’.

The move would only be possible if it gained power at Holyrood, as income tax is devolved.

The election document continued: ‘This would reduce the rate from 21p to 20p, saving over half of Scottish taxpayers up to £171 in tax.’

Policymakers have said it will allow Scots to keep more of their own hard-earned cash, while savings will be made by the Scottish Tories by reducing the size of the bloated devolved civil service as well as using Barnett Consequentials from Westminster.

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Mr Ross’s party has acknowledged it would be the first step in closing the tax gap between Scots and their English and Welsh counterparts, and would result in less than 22 per cent of taxpayers paying a bit more than those south of the border.

By removing a whole tax band and simplifying the administration of Scottish income tax, those who continue in the short term to pay a bit more than people in England and Wales would be earning £43,716.88 or more, up from £28,850 under the SNP.

The manifesto will state: ‘When financial conditions allow, we would continue to cut income tax rates to achieve our long-term ambition of no worker paying more tax in Scotland on their earnings than in the rest of UK.’

In April, a triple whammy of SNP tax rises came into force in Scotland, including a new 45p income tax band on earnings above £75,000 and an extra 1p on the top rate on earnings above £125,140.

In addition, the higher rate threshold was frozen at £43,663 rather than rising in line with inflation, meaning thousands of people have been dragged into paying it.

As a result of the growing tax gap between Scotland and the rest of the UK, someone earning a £35,000 salary pays £61 more in Scotland, rising to £442 at £45,000, £1,696 at £55,000, and £2,096 at £75,000.

According to HMRC, the SNP’s punishing tax regime has resulted in more than 1,000 higher and top earners quitting Scotland for other parts of the UK.

The impact of the mass exodus amounts to an astonishing £60.6million in ‘lost tax’.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his Chancellor Jeremy Hunt have attempted to soften the blow to Scottish taxpayers by cutting National Insurance contributions - a tax which is still reserved to Westminster and directly impacts take-home paypackets.

His UK-wide Tory manifesto at Silverstone race track earlier this month saw a pledge to further cut National Insurance by 2p by 2027, along with a pledge to phase out the ‘double-tax on jobs’ completely when resources allow.

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