Labour and SNP clash on taxes as ballot slogans revealed

The SNP has accused Labour of presiding over years of council-tax hikes and planning further tax rises for the low-paid as the nationalists were urged to support a tax on the highest earners.
The SNPs Nicola Sturgeon takes to the road. Picture: PAThe SNPs Nicola Sturgeon takes to the road. Picture: PA
The SNPs Nicola Sturgeon takes to the road. Picture: PA

Labour has dismissed Nicola Sturgeon’s concerns that a 50p tax rate could cost Scotland £30 million through tax avoidance as “smoke and mirrors”, insisting HMRC has the power to make sure Scots pay up.

The clash came as the SNP confirmed it would use the message “Nicola Sturgeon for First Minister” on ballot papers for the Holyrood election on 5 May.

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Labour’s said the slogan “Choose kids, not cuts”, would appear alongside the party name on ballot papers, as the deadline to stand as a candidate passed yesterday.

However, Ms Sturgeon claimed Labour were planning “tax hikes on the low-paid” and accused them of presiding over “exorbitant” council-tax rises while in government, as she campaigned in Falkirk.

Ms Sturgeon said: “While Labour plan to hit one million low earners with tax hikes and the Tories want to tax essential services like healthcare and education with tuition fees and prescription charges, the SNP is providing the protection family incomes need during tough financial times.”

However, Labour’s shadow Scottish Secretary, Ian Murray, at a campaign event in Edinburgh, said: “Nicola Sturgeon is using smoke and mirrors to justify not backing a 50p top rate of tax.

“When schools and local services across Scotland are facing hundreds of millions of pounds of cuts, the SNP will not ask some earning over £150,000 a year to pay a penny more in tax. That’s not the mark of an anti-austerity party.”

Meanwhile, the Tories said their slogan would be “Scottish Conservative and Unionist, Ruth Davidson for a Strong opposition” for the list section.

The Liberal Democrats will appear on the ballot form simply as the “Scottish Liberal Democrats”, while in some regions the Scottish Greens’ statement is “A Bolder Parliament, A Better Scotland”.

Nigel Farage’s Ukip also confirmed the party would not contest any constituencies and would instead field 26 candidates for the list in bid to repeat its success in the 2014 European elections, when David Coburn was elected as an MEP for Scotland.

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Mr Farage said he was “certain that this team, led by David Coburn will break into Holyrood” with the MEP seeking election in the Highlands and Islands.

According to Mr Coburn, the party had decided not to contest any constituencies in a bid to “concentrate” its support through the lists after it polled 10.4 per cent of the vote at the 2014 European Parliament elections.

The MEP dismissed suggestions that Ukip had decided against contesting any constituencies because of the risk of losing the deposit for candidates, which is forfeited if less than five per cent of the vote is polled.