Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to freeze income tax levels in Scotland if the SNP is reelected at next month’s Holyrood election.
Setting out her party’s 2021 manifesto in an online speech today, the Nationalist leader said “fresh thinking” was required to help the country recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
The First Minister said freezing the rates of income tax throughout the term of the next parliament would provide “stability to the economy and to households” in the years ahead.
If returned to power, the SNP will also work towards establishing a “minimum income guarantee” which would be a first step towards establishing a universal basic income if Scotland was to vote for independence in the future.
On tax, the SNP manifesto states: “While it is important for any government to have flexibility to respond to a change in circumstances, our aim is to maintain current income tax rates for the duration of the parliament and increase thresholds by a maximum of inflation.”
The First Minister said: “In the last parliament the SNP introduced a fairer tax system.
“As a result, most people pay less income tax than in other parts of the UK. But those who can afford to pay slightly more.
“This has helped us boost investment and keep vital services free of charge – services like university education, prescriptions and personal care, and bus-travel for older people.
“If we are re-elected we will maintain that progressive tax system.
“And to provide stability to the economy and to household budgets during this period of recovery, I can confirm our intention is to freeze the rates of income tax throughout the next parliament.
“These practical steps are designed to make a difference.”
Responding to the manifesto launch, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said: “Nicola Sturgeon has said it herself – when Scotland is still in the recovery phase, she wants another referendum.
“This is a manifesto to create a new crisis at the earliest opportunity, when we’re going to be tackling the health and economic crisis for years to come.
“If they get a majority, the SNP will put a referendum roadblock in front of Scotland’s recovery. “No amount of stop signs from the Scottish public will force the SNP to u-turn.
“They are determined to create a constitutional crisis that would crash Scotland’s economy and force us through years of division and uncertainty.”