The SNP government is facing fresh calls to set out what the rate of Scottish income tax will be when Holyrood takes control over it next year.
Scottish secretary David Mundell says the public have a right to know whether finance secretary John Swinney will raise – or cut – income tax from the UK level.
“How much will it be? When will they tell us?” the Conservative minister says in an open article today.
Income tax in Scotland will effectively be cut by 10p from the UK rate as of next April – with MSPs at Holyrood then tasked with raising it back up to the required level in line with need.
The SNP government has yet to set out the level of the new Scottish Rate of Income Tax (SRIT).
But Mr Mundell said: “We are entering a new era of devolution in Scotland where the Scottish Parliament is more powerful and more accountable than ever before.
“Holyrood will have control over billions of pounds worth of tax and welfare powers.
“They now need to set the Scottish Rate of Income Tax. This money will come out of Scottish pay cheques next April. How much will it be? When will they tell us?”
Mr Mundell, the only Tory MP in Scotland, said the Scottish Government is able to choose a “different path” from the rest of the UK on these issues.
“That is what devolution is all about,” he said.
“If the First Minister wants to increase taxes, create new benefits or top-up existing benefits then that is her choice because these are the new powers Holyrood will have.
“She should, however, use the next 100 days to explain how Holyrood intends to use these new powers.”
Mr Mundell’s intervention co-incides with the Tory government marking 100 days in power.
A spokesman for Finance Secretary John Swinney said: “The story of the Conservatives’ first 100 days since the election has been one of retreats and climb-downs, under pressure from the SNP.
“The Tories just need to get on with the job of delivering the new powers for Scotland that were promised and which people expect, instead of trying to water them down – we will propose an income tax rate after seeing the detail of the UK Government’s spending review, which is not scheduled until late November.”
Holyrood’s finance committee has launched an inquiry today into how the power should be used and whether taxpayers and employers are prepared for the change.
The consultation, which members of the public are urged to take part in, asks how much income tax Scots should pay and why.
At present, income tax is levied in three bands.
Those earning between the tax-free personal allowance of £10,600 and £31,785 pay the basic rate of 20p in the £1.
The new Scottish rate of income tax will apply to all three bands across the board, meaning any changes will have a proportionately bigger effect on basic rate taxpayers.