DEL BOY ROTTER [...]; SLASH AND BURN FINANCE SECRETARY ORDERS CUTS TO RAISE CASH Labour Leader Dugdale and Cosla Chief Criticise Mackay's Councils Tax Plan

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), December 16, 2016 | Go to article overview

DEL BOY ROTTER [...]; SLASH AND BURN FINANCE SECRETARY ORDERS CUTS TO RAISE CASH Labour Leader Dugdale and Cosla Chief Criticise Mackay's Councils Tax Plan


Byline: ANDY PHILIP a.philip@dailyrecord.co.uk

Tax & WELFARE MACKAY confirmed he won't pass on a Tory tax cut being made at Westminster. It means Scots will pay more at the top end than in England.

The threshold for the 40p rate of tax will only rise by the rate inflation, so the higher rate will be paid by those earning PS43,430 - compared with PS45,000 or above in the rest of the UK.

Mackay said it meant his budget would "not give a substantial real-terms tax cut to the top 10 per cent of income earners".

Businesses with a rateable value of up to PS15,000 will be included in a tax relief scheme. And the large business supplement threshold is rising PS51,000, taking more smaller firms out of the tax.

There were no surprises on tax and welfare, but Mackay said DEREK Mackay was accused last night of holding councils to ransom after he slashed central funding for local authorities.

The Finance Secretary stripped millions away while using council tax rises and other spending commitments as cover to claim he was giving them a better deal.

Mackay - who was making his first Holyrood budget statement - also froze the basic rate of income tax and rejected calls to introduce a new higher rate for the wealthiest.

Union and opposition leaders claimed the cuts amount to PS327million when specific spending commitments are excluded - a figure strongly rejected by the SNP Government.

Mackay admitted he was taking PS47million away from councils as he unveiled his plans for 2017-18 in Holyrood.

But he said local government will end up PS240.6million better off.

To get to that figure, he included PS111million of extra council tax revenue from a reform of upper bands - raising money from those with more expensive homes.

And he counted PS120million from central government to help schools close the attainment gap between pupils from wealthy and poor backgrounds.

Mackay included PS107million from the NHS to support social care services in council areas.

He also described the "freedom" councils will have to add an extra three per cent to tax, raising about PS70million.

Councils will have to agree the package if they want all the funds.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale condemned the proposals.

She said: "However the Finance Secretary tries to spin it, this budget means a real-terms cut of PS327million from the SNP Government to local services.

"They're making up the difference by holding councils to ransom - forcing them to use their tax powers while they refuse to use theirs.

"They could have asked the richest one per cent to pay a little more with a 50p tax, but they refuse.

"This budget passes on Tory cuts to the people of Scotland. It makes Derek Mackay no better than a Tory chancellor."

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities said that services will suffer. Cosla president David O'Neill added: "Cosla can never endorse a reduction to the core local government settlement as announced as part of the budget statement.

"It is our understanding that the Scottish Government had significant additional cash for 2017-18 and therefore this decision will impact on services delivered by local government."

Mackay used the budget to confirm the threshold for the 40p rate of tax would only rise by the rate of inflation. It means the higher rate will be paid by those earning PS43,430 in Scotland compared with PS45,000 in the rest of the UK.

Tories said councils are being hammered while Scots are being told to pay more tax than in England.

Scottish Tory finance spokesman Murdo Fraser said: "It's taking away with one hand in order to give a little back with the other. What a shambles.

"This is a Scottish Government which wants to make Scotland the highest-taxed part of the United Kingdom. Scots will pay more, but in return get a shambolic mess on education and the NHS. …

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