Scottish Government to continue its 'fairer approach' to tax, says minister

The Scottish Government will continue to pursue a “fairer and more progressive approach to taxation”, one of Nicola Sturgeon’s ministers has said.

Richard Lochhead spoke out as Tories in Scotland urged SNP ministers in Holyrood to follow the UK Government’s example and reduce taxes.

While policies announced in Friday’s mini budget saw Prime Minister Liz Truss branded a “Margaret Thatcher tribute act” by the Scottish Labour leader, Anas Sarwar; Conservatives north of the border hailed the “extraordinarily ambitious measures”.

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Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross called on the Scottish Government to follow the example of UK Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, after he axed the top rate of income tax for those earning £150,000 a year or more and lifted the cap on bankers’ bonuses.

Richard Lochhead spoke out as Tories in Scotland urged SNP ministers in Holyrood to follow the UK Government’s example and reduce taxes
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With Scotland the “highest taxed part of the UK”, Mr Ross said that it was “crucial that the SNP now matches the provisions announced by the Chancellor”.

If not, he said, the tax gap between north and south of the border would widen and “Scotland will find itself locked in a cycle of stagnation”.

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However, Mr Lochhead, the fair work minister within the Scottish Government, rejected that approach.

He said the Conservatives had brought forward a “budget for the rich and for bankers” that would “provide cold comfort for millions of people in Scotland”.

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Mr Lochhead said: “Thankfully income tax rates and bands are devolved here in Scotland and the Scottish Government will set out its tax policies at the Scottish budget.

“We will continue to pursue our fairer and more progressive approach to taxation which has protected low earners while raising additional revenues for public service.”

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His comments came as Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar told the Unite conference that the UK’s new prime minister “would rather try a Margaret Thatcher tribute act across our country” than putting “more money in the pockets of people who need help with their energy bills”.

Labour’s annual conference is set to kick off in Liverpool today with expectations high for Sir Keir Starmer to set out the dividing lines between his party and the new Tory government.

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Supporters of the Labour leader hope he will use the four-day gathering to capitalise on the unpopularity of Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s economic measures.

Giving a flavour of his attack line, Sir Keir tweeted ahead of the conference: “Tory casino economics is gambling the mortgages and finances of every family in the country.

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“Labour will secure growth for working people, that benefits all communities”.

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