Readers' Letters: Government fails workers with new tax hikes

The Scottish Government presented their Budget (after leaks “not authorised” by John Swinney!) with unsurprising tax hikes to further widen the tax differential between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

These tax rises, oft described as “progressive” rather than “higher”, will not just hit the wealthy minority but will also drag in the “ordinary” workers as the politicians like to describe that cohort. Staggeringly, the Chartered Institute of Taxation calculates that those with earnings between the Scottish and UK higher rate tax thresholds of £43,662 and £50,270 will be taxed at a marginal rate of 54 per cent on that slice of income compared to 32 per cent in the rest of the UK. The “ordinary” workers such as the “wealthy” train drivers, senior police constables and sergeants and senior nurses will all pay substantially more tax than their rUK counterparts.

It is about time that the myth of looking after the “ordinary” workers peddled by this economically illiterate and incompetent Scottish Government is called out for what it is.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh

Temporary Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy John Swinney delivers the Scottish Budget for 2023-24 to the Scottish Parliament (Picture: Andrew Cowan/Getty)Temporary Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy John Swinney delivers the Scottish Budget for 2023-24 to the Scottish Parliament (Picture: Andrew Cowan/Getty)
Temporary Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy John Swinney delivers the Scottish Budget for 2023-24 to the Scottish Parliament (Picture: Andrew Cowan/Getty)

What a bargain!

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It is always amusing to note the claims from certain quarters that higher income tax rates, as announced in the recent Budget, will make Scotland a less attractive place to live and work.

There will be an apparent “exodus” of middle-class earners, a “brain drain” of those heading to the brighter uplands south of the Border where those earning more than £27,580 will pay less income tax than in Scotland.

What this neglects to highlight, of course, is that income tax is only one element of taxation. The majority of Scottish council taxpayers, for example, are on average paying £590 a year less than they would in England and £423 less than in Wales. Average water charges are also lower in Scotland than the rest of the UK.

Those parties also neglect to mention the free tuition enjoyed by Scottish students, with those south of the Border having to pay over £9,000 a year. Prescription fees in England are also over £9 per item, while in Scotland they are free.

Let us also not also forget that better-funded public services are a key element that make somewhere an attractive place to live.

Most Scottish taxpayers pay less income tax than their English neighbours, but for those with the broadest shoulders who pay more, let us not forget the likes of lower council tax, lower water charges, free university fees and free bus travel for pensioners and young people.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh

Gloomy prospects

Regardless of what any poll says, new SNP Leader at Westminster, Stephen Flynn would do well to understand Scotland would never survive outside the Union. Flynn has a cunning plan which even Baldric would have questioned: He wants to amend the Scotland Act 1998 which will enable the Scottish Parliament to legislate for a new referendum. That it will likely clash with the Supreme Court’s ruling that Scotland cannot gain independence without Westminster agreement simply suggests that here we have another SNP representative who cannot or will not confront reality.

John Swinney announces a 2023-24 budget which will almost certainly be as inaccurate as all previous SNP budgets, Nicola Sturgeon’s annual overspend: £23 billion in 2021-22, national debt and deficit increasing year on year exponentially, now legendary. Already massively subsidised by the UK Government, how, exactly would the SNP government survive outwith the Union, if it fails each year to balance its budget by many country miles?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Flynn, like his leader, loves the concept of independence but clearly has never done the maths: A Scotland on its own will suffer catastrophic job losses. The EU was never an option; EU criteria cannot ever be met. Borrowing would become almost impossible except at astronomical and unaffordable interest rates. The First Minister's three independence “Papers” were a naive work of pure, kindergarten-level fiction, failing completely to set out how Scotland would survive. While there is a First Minister focusing only on the myth of independence, rather than running her country for the benefit of the Scottish people, matters can only go from bad to much worse.

I am a Scot.

Doug Morrison, Cranbrook, Kent


I agree with Frazer MacGregor’s criticism of Nicola Sturgeon’s rushing the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill through Parliament (Letters, 15 December). Her motives seem to be a mixture of her obsession with proving that Scotland is a great wee “progressive” nation, her need to ensure Green Party support and her desire to be different from England, which is taking a much more cautious approach. Rushed legislation is often poorly drafted.

This Bill began as a Member’s Bill and was formulated largely on the basis the demands of LGBT+ activists. The Equalities etc Committee made a very poor job of interpreting written evidence and the oral evidence heard was heavily weighted to the supporters of the Bill. The concerns of people who had undergone transition, later regretted it and de-transitioned were completely ignored. Specialist medical, scientific, psychological and psychiatric opinion was not considered important. The well-founded concerns of women’s rights groups regarding abuse of women’s rights to privacy and protection of single-sex spaces were written off as unfounded, which flies in the face of evidence.

Basic to the controversy is the assumption that change of gender role leads automatically to a change of sex. This confuses different categories. Biological sex is fixed during foetal development and is obvious at birth except in the rare cases of intersex and some developmental irregularities. Chromosomal sex cannot be changed. Changing birth sex on the birth certificate may be legal, but it remains a fiction. This is post-modernism gone mad. Birth sex should remain the same, but there could be a category of “preferred lived gender”. I have already written to my MSPs about this and I hope the Scottish Government will see sense and delay this Bill for mature, well-evidenced consideration and revision by a competent committee before a final vote.

(Rev Dr) Donald M MacDonald, Edinburgh

Driving us mad

Greens co-leader Lorna Slater has called for a ban on all domestic flights, apart from those to and from the islands because, as she says, there are other forms of transport available. She’s right, we could use our cars which she and partner Patrick Harvie are also trying to get rid of. Of course, Ms Slater can always hop into a ministerial limousine and go wherever she wants at our expense.

Statements like hers show how out of touch the Scottish Government is with the public and if it wasn’t for the desperate need of their votes by the SNP, she and Harvie would maybe have been booted out of Holyrood quicker than they entered.

Ian Balloch, Grangemouth, Falkirk

Enough is enough

As Russia in its aggression against its neighbour, Ukraine, continues to pile war crime upon war crime, is it not time for them to be expelled from the United Nations?

John Dorward, Arbroath, Angus

Post Office puzzle

Four times this year I have sent items to friends/family in Europe. I was very surprised when the first package attracted a charge of approximately €18 for the recipient to pay before it was delivered. But a parcel sent to the same address in October was delivered without a problem as was a Christmas parcel this month. However a book sent to a friend in Belgium also attracted a charge before they received it.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

On every occasion I took my items to the post office, where they were weighed. I filled in the Customs Declaration and the contents value. But twice the receiver has had to put their hand in their pocket.

And twice the item had not attracted any extra costs.

Has anyone else experienced this, sending from the UK? I have complained to Royal Mail and await their reply but there would seem to be little point in sending anything to Europe if it randomly attracts a further charge which the sender cannot allow for.

In future I will just use an international website to send items.

S M Duthie, Edinburgh

Traffic dystopia

I have just found out, and not through anything publicised openly by Edinburgh Council, that they are planning to close more roads in the Leith area to create space for cyclists and pedestrians. All this is doing is causing more congestion and more pollution on main roads and hindering access for emergency vehicles. I would like the Council to justify why, if minor roads are being closed off for cyclists, it is necessary to install cycle lanes on main roads? Cyclists should be using the closed-off roads and cycle paths leaving main roads for cars and buses.With the installation of more routes for cyclists who contribute nothing to the cost of erecting signposts, marking of the road etc, and upkeep of roads, isn’t it time they had to have a licence to use bikes, pay tax, have insurance and obey the rules set down in the Highway Code, which many flaunt as they know the vehicle driver will be blamed for any accidents.How long it will take for the Council to realise that the majority of car owners will not give up their vehicles?

Lilian Clephane, Leith

Bah, humbug

Note to the feckless, box-ticking teachers responsible for the choirs of talentless brats murdering seasonal favourites on breakfast television: it’s "Hosannah in excelsis", not "Hose Anna In Eggs, Chelseas."

Mark Boyle, Johnstone, Renfrewshire

Write to The Scotsman

We welcome your thoughts. Write to [email protected] including name, address and phone number – we won't print full details. Keep letters under 300 words, with no attachments, and avoid 'Letters to the Editor/Readers’ Letters' or similar in your subject line - be specific. No letters submitted elsewhere, please. If referring to an article, include date, page number and heading.




Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.