Letters: Scottish Budget provides a progressive tax system, people won’t be leaving Scotland

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Far from people being driven away, the new Scottish Budget will attract people here, a reader writes.

It has been striking to note key sections of the media and opposition politicians heralding the fact that somehow those paying higher taxes through the Scottish Budget will be packing up their estate cars and heading south.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay. Picture; John Devlin

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay. Picture; John Devlin

Let’s put some perspective on this. The fact that someone on £45,000 is paying an additional £2.50 more per week than their counterparts south of the Border, or even someone on £150,000 is paying an additional £51 a week is, dare I say it, not going to create a mass exodus of middle and higher-rate taxpayers heading to Berwick-upon-Tweed.

READ MORE: Scottish Budget: MSPs back SNP plans on tax and spending

The proposals also mean that everyone earning under £27,000 in Scotland – about 55 per cent of taxpayers – will pay less income tax than those on the same salary elsewhere.

Let us also not forget that those who will pay these moderate tax increase are the same people who enjoy considerable universal benefits not enjoyed by those south of the Border. These include free prescription charges (£8.80 in England), eye tests (£20-£25 in England), university education (£9,500 per year in England), elderly bus passes and elderly care.

With house prices lower in Scotland and a better quality of living and public services, these limited tax increases for the services obtained provide excellent value for money.

Far from people being driven away, this progressive budget, delivering better public services will attract people here. It is more palatable and attractive to work in a better-funded health and education system than an underfunded one.

There is no magic money tree and if we are to deliver a decent society, where the poor are given the chance to prosper, public services are invested in and jobs and infrastructure created, we need to pay for it. The progressive tax system delivered through this Budget does just that.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh