New Scots income tax system approved by MSPs

MSPs at Holyrood have supported the introduction of a new income tax system for Scotland.

MSPs passed the proposals — part of a budget deal the SNP struck with the Greens — by 67 votes to 50.

The plans will go to the Holyrood chamber for final approval on Wednesday.

The Conservatives and Labour opposed the changes, which will come into force in April.

The Scottish Fiscal Commission estimates the new policy will raise an additional £219 million, taking forecast income tax revenues in 2018-19 to £12.177 billion.

Under the new Scottish income tax rates there will be a starter rate of 19% for those earning £11,850 to £13,850; a Scottish basic rate of 20% for £13,850 to £24,000; an intermediate rate of 21% for £24,000 to £43,430; a higher rate of 41% for £43,430 to £150,000; and a top rate of 46% for above £150,000.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said more than two thirds of income taxpayers will pay less tax next year on their current income.

Mackay said the new starter rate of income tax, combined with an increase in the personal allowance, will result in 70% of all income taxpayers paying less tax than they do this year on current incomes “and raise additional revenue to support vital public services and investment in the economy.”

Mackay said: “The Scottish Government has faced continued austerity from the UK Government.

“Over a ten year period, Scotland’s block grant will have been cut by £2.6 billion in real terms and we face a £500 million real terms reduction in spending on day-to-day services over the next two years.

“Our progressive approach to reforming income tax will deliver greater tax fairness and protect the lowest earning taxpayers in Scotland.

“By using our devolved income tax powers we will ensure we have an additional £428 million next year to support a Budget that will help mitigate UK budget cuts, protect our NHS and other public services, support our economy and tackle inequality in our society.

“This is an important day for Scotland’s future and I hope parliament comes together to back our proposals and set income tax rates that will help deliver the best outcomes for the people of Scotland.”