Nicola Sturgeon under fire for indicating she won't pass on UK tax breaks

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
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Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of refusing to help middle income earners like nurses, police officers and teachers by not passing on UK Government income tax breaks.

The First Minister came under fire at Holyrood when the Scottish Conservatives tackled her on the Scottish Government's tax plans.

At First Minister's Questions, Ms Sturgeon signalled that the Scottish Government will not tollow the lead of the Chancellor Philip Hammond, who announced tax cuts for the rest of the UK in his recent budget.

Stand-in Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw

called on the the First Minister to give some "glimmer of hope of tax relief to people like senior teachers, nurses and police officers".

Pressing her on the issue at First Minister's Questions he said failure to pass on the cut would mean middle earning Scots facing paying a ”bill of £1,000 extra in income tax compared to those doing exactly the same job elsewhere in the UK".

Ms Sturgeon however slammed the Conservatives, saying the Budget delivered "tax cuts for the rich and just cuts for everybody else".

On the subject of income tax she argued the Tories had shown their "true colours" and pledged the Scottish budget - which sets income tax rates and bands north of the border - would stand in "stark contrast" to Mr Hammond's policies.

The First Minister said: "When we set our Budget on December 12 the decision we take will be driven by our determination to protect our National Health Service and our other public services, to tackle poverty and low pay, ensure that those who earn the most in our society make a fair and reasonable contribution to public services.

"It will be a balanced, progressive and fair budget and it will stand in stark contrast to the one we saw on Monday.”

The changes being brought in by Mr Hammond mean in the rest of the UK the point at which people start to pay the 40p tax rate will rise from £46,351 to £50,000 in April.

In Scotland workers not only pay a slightly higher rate for this - 41p as opposed to 40p - but it kicks in earlier, with the threshold currently set at £43,430.

Scottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has already indicated he has no plans to follow the Chancellor's example when he reveals his Scottish Budget in December.