Chancellor urged to 'do the right thing' and exempt devolved support from tax and benefit deductions

The Chancellor has been urged to “do the right thing” and exempt devolved support from tax and benefit deductions.

The Chancellor has been urged to “do the right thing” and exempt devolved support from tax and benefit deductions.

The SNP today urged Rishi Sunak to protect things such as the Covid Winter Hardship Payment to ensure people get "every single penny" of support during the crisis.

SNP MP and former NHS surgeon Dr Philippa Whitford claims the special coronavirus payments from devolved governments should not be subject to tax.It follows a spat over plans in Scotland to hand NHS staff a £500 “thank you”, a gift the Holyrood administration claim is subject to tax.

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Dr Whitford MP said: “After failing to heed the SNP’s calls to exempt the £500 ‘Thank-you’ payment for NHS and Care workers in Scotland – which will see hard-working healthcare staff lose a significant amount of their deserved bonus to the Treasury - Rishi Sunak needs to make sure he does not penalise people who are struggling by taxing devolved coronavirus support.

“It is disgraceful that the Tory government are taking back money which has been given to people by the Scottish Government to help them get through this pandemic.

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“Rishi Sunak must do the right thing and use the upcoming UK Budget to ensure devolved government coronavirus support is exempt from tax.

"The fact that he failed to do this with the £500 bonus shows what kind of government we have in Westminster.

"It's clear that the only way to protect Scotland's interests, and secure a strong and fair recovery, is to become an independent country - and that begins with returning a clear SNP majority in May.”

Last year the SNP were accused of “political games” over the £500 payment for NHS workers as the Treasury said tax arrangements surrounding the bonus were a decision for Scotland.

They pointed out the SNP administration had received more than £8.2 billion of extra funding and the decision to scrap tax on the payment was a decision for Holyrood as the relevant powers are devolved.

A spokesman for the Treasury said: “The income tax on these payments is paid to Scotland, not Westminster — and the Scottish Government has the powers and funding to gross up the payment if it wishes.”

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