Poll: most Scots back SNP's tax rise plan

A majority of Scots back Nicola Sturgeon's plans to raise income tax to help fund public services, according to a new poll.

Research for The Times by YouGov found that 54 per cent of those interviewed supported the first minister’s proposal to increase income tax.

The poll findings come after Derek Mackay, the finance secretary, announced significant changes to income tax rates, introducing two more bands and changing the rates of the existing bands.

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Finance secretary Derek Mackay

If Mr Mackay’s budget is passed this year, all Scots earning more than £26,000 would pay more than their counterparts elsewhere in the UK from April.

YouGov pollsters found that 54 per cent of those who took part in the survey supported the move, 27 per cent opposed it and 19 per cent did not know. A third said they thought the idea was “unfair”.

There was no difference in opinion between the age groups but more women supported the plans than men, and even one in four Conservative voters - 24 per cent - were in favour.

Mr Mackay said: “As this poll and others have shown, a majority of Scots support the SNP’s progressive tax reforms that will allow us to invest in our schools and hospitals.

Finance secretary Derek Mackay

“The SNP is on the side of Scotland’s taxpayers ensuring that 70 per cent pay less and that Scotland has the fairest taxed system in the UK. I hope other parties will now back our tax plans.”

James Kelly, the Glasgow Labour MSP, said: “This confirms that Scots are in favour of a more progressive system of taxation.

“However, the support for these proposals cannot be accurately considered at this time. That is because Derek Mackay’s tax plan will not stop cuts to lifeline local services. Poll after poll has shown Scots are willing to pay more tax to fund public services. Instead, Derek Mackay has tinkered around the edges and delivered a plan which will just mean more cuts.”

Murdo Fraser, finance spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives, said: “Making Scotland the highest-taxed part of the UK won’t just hit people in the pocket, it will damage the economy too.

“It will stunt growth and hand an advantage to our competitors. That all means less cash for vital public services like schools, hospitals and roads.”