LAST week Finance Secretary Derek Mackay MSP announced Scotland’s draft budget for 2018/19 which sets out new income tax reforms which are fair and balanced to ensure the Scottish Government can maintain high quality public services while the UK Government imposes austerity.

Despite Scotland’s budget being cut by £500 million over the next two years and by £2.6 billion between 2010/11 – 2019/20, the Scottish Government have worked hard to deliver this draft budget.

The progressive income tax measures will see 70 per cent of income taxpayers paying less tax in Scotland in 2018/19 compared to last year. 

Also, every taxpayer in Scotland earning below £33,000 in 2018/19 will pay less income tax than they do now.

In addition to this, the health budget will get an above inflation increase of £400m, the local government budget will receive an extra £89.9m in its capital budget with its resource budget protected, an additional £120m over and above the education budget will be invested to help headteachers with the Pupil Equity Fund and £243m will be invested in new nurseries and nursery teachers for the increase in childcare hours from 600 hours per year to 1,140 hours. 

Investment of £600m will be invested in broadband, the most competitive business rates package will be delivered to help economic growth and additional money will go to our Police and Fire Service as well as a host of other measures.

Overall, Mr Mackay’s proposals support economic growth, are fundamentally fair and prove that the alternative to the Tories’ ‘raise less, spend more’ ideology shouldn’t hurt the pay packets of low earners.