Swinney reaffirms Draft Budget commitment to low taxes ahead of debate

John Swinney
John Swinney

Deputy first minister John Swinney has vowed not to increase taxes for low paid workers as MSPs prepare to debate the Draft Budget 2016/17 for the first time at Holyrood later today.

The finance secretary pledged that he will not increase the Scottish rate of income tax when it comes into effect from 6 April following calls from both Labour and the Lib Dems to increase the tax to 1p above the UK rate.

Instead Mr Swinney said the Scottish Budget will deliver a pay rise for up to 51,400 low paid workers through the uprating of the living wage, it’s extension to Social Care through the Local Government Settlement and an uplift of £400 for those earning £22,000 or less.

Ahead of the Stage 1 debate on the Draft 2016/17 Budget today, the deputy first minister said: “I will not penalise those on low incomes, and I certainly won’t increase their tax bill. Instead this budget will see up to 51,400 lower paid workers receive an increase in pay.

“Our budget will see an additional £250 million invested in social care, around £13 billion for health, it will freeze council tax for a ninth consecutive year, protect police budgets, invest £690m in housing, allocate over £1bn for higher education, and protect the pupil-teacher ratio, helping improve attainment.

“Our budget will equip the country for the future and lay the foundations for the reforms that will define the next parliament - reforms that will reshape our health and social care services, deliver a step change in educational attainment, deliver a fairer system of local taxation and use new powers over tax and welfare in a way that supports our central purpose.”

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