Labour’s tax plans based on plan that may well be challenged by the Treasury

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INTEGRAL to Scottish Labour’s tax proposals is the “rebate” to low earners.

This is to get round the fact that currently the Scottish Government can vary income tax rates only by the same amount in each of the existing bands. Does it have the authority to authorise such a payment and is it known if this device to subvert the legislation would go unchallenged by the UK Treasury?

S Beck

Craigleith Drive, Edinburgh

Party political competition to raise an extra penny in income tax masks the question how well are our pennies being spent on existing services.

Councils are told to freeze rates yet council tax only raises 12 per cent of their budgets, the NHS 24 IT system looks like costing another £50 million, schools are short of teachers and Police Scotland, created to save money, has a black hole in its accounts. Cutting back on repairs led to Forth Road Bridge closure – and now we learn Amazon got almost as much in grants from Holyrood as it paid in tax last year.

It is not the size of Scotland’s government but whether it is working.

Jim Craigen

Downie Grove, Edinburgh

Alexander McKay (letters, 8 February) inverts reality with his letter. What the SNP have done by refusing to advocate an income tax rise is learn from a previous mistake. This has shown that the party can at least learn from previous errors, albeit slowly.

By trying to win an election with a policy that ensured the SNP lost a previous election, Labour have gone far beyond alleged hypocrisy and passed into actual idiocy.

Bruce Crichton

Victoria Road, Falkirk

Mary Thomas is quite right when she says the limited levers currently available to the Scottish Government are inadequate to build a fairer Scotland – although if the SNP government would only use them, they could at least make a good start.

Alas she is not as correct when it comes to tax; here she appears to have fallen for the SNP’s deception. A full-time employee on the minimum wage would indeed face a 5 per cent tax rise, but this would only constitute £20 a year. Contrast that with Nicola Sturgeon, who on her higher salary faces “only” a 2.7 per cent increase – £1,447 a year. This is definitely progressive.

Lucy Grig

Edinburgh

Douglas Turner is correct (Letters 8 February) in pointing out “confusion” in my statement that under Labour’s tax proposals those earning under £20,000 would pay “nothing”. I should have made it clear that that figure was net. They would all, of course, pay tax but the £100 rebate would be equal to or greater than their tax contribution.

I hope Mr Turner will accept my explanation that any “confusion” was the result of carelessness of expression rather than conscious misrepresentation. May I also ask Mr Turner to similarly cast his sharp eye over SNP leaders’ claims that Labour’s proposal would “hit the vulnerable” and to explain whether they, like me, are simply “confused” or are trying to mislead the Scottish electorate deliberately?

Colin Hamilton

Braid Hills Avenue, Edinburgh

Douglas Meyer suggests (letters 8 February) that as devolution was introduced by a Labour government, all subsequent cuts imposed by the devolved SNP government are really Labour’s fault. Good pantomime stuff. Stan Grodynski’s letter includes the phrases “is it fair” and “without providing Scotland with...”. Why should we wait for anyone to provide us with anything? Other letters – lots of them – are obsessed with the current row over income tax. All of this is, in the literal sense, pathetic. Scottish politics seems unable to break free from introspection and constitution, and the never ending whinge about how unfairly we are treated.

Graham M McLeod

Muirs, Kinross

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