STUC chief Grahame Smith hits out over SNP '˜excuses' on tax

The SNP has come under fire from the head of the STUC over its 'refusal' to raise tax on high earners.

Grahame Smith, STUC general secretary. Picture: Michael Gillen

Holyrood will gain control over income tax rates and bands next year and Labour has already pledged to raise the top rate of tax on incomes of more than £150,000 from 45p to 50p.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says there are fewer than 20,000 such earners and the they could change their pay arrangements to avoid tax - and Scotland’s public purse would lose out to the tune of millions of pounds.

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But Grahame Smith, general secretary of the STUC attacked the SNP on the opening day of its annual congress in Dundee yesterday.

“The SNP’s position, especially the pathetic excuses for refusing to increase the marginal rate of tax on earnings over £150,000, is hugely disappointing,” he said.

“I’ve said it before and will say it again: the Nordic style society the SNP continually say they aspire to, simply cannot be created and sustained on current levels of taxation.”

Mr Smith added that no party has come up with a credible plan for reducing inequalities of wealth and power in Scotland and demanded a “bold” approach to using Holyrood’s new powers in the years ahead.

He added; “Too often a welcome focus on poverty reduction has been used as cover for refusing to take action on runaway incomes at the top. An effective strategy must tackle inequality from both ends.”