Most Scots Say They'd Pay More Tax

6 December 2017, 08:55

Budget - LBC

Six out of ten Scots say they would be prepared to pay more in tax if the cash raised went on improving public services or tackling inequality.

Research by polling company Survation found 60% said they would "personally be willing to pay more tax" - with only 15% opposed.

The research, carried out for campaigning organisation 38 Degrees, was released a week before Finance Secretary Derek Mackay will reveal his Budget plans for next year to the Scottish Parliament.

A Scottish Government spokesman confirmed this was now in the "final stages of preparation", with the draft Budget plans being discussed by Nicola Sturgeon's cabinet.

There is widespread speculation Mr Mackay is to raise taxes for better-off Scots, using powers Holyrood has over income tax rates and bands.

Survation's research showed 61% are in favour of proposals which could raise £200 million by raising taxes on higher earners at the same cutting the amount paid by lower-paid Scots.

A total of 14,000 people have also signed a petition from 38 Degrees calling for such a change.

Gordon Maloney, a campaigner with 38 Degrees in Scotland, said: "These results show the public have come down on the side of bold tax reform to help fund Scotland's public services.

"With the vast majority backing tax rises for better treatment in our hospitals, education for our children and a more equal society - and almost two in three Scots willing to personally pay more - the government has a mandate to be bold.

"MSPs can either be ambitious on tax reform and receive the public's backing - or they can kowtow to the interests of the very richest."

Stephen Forster, a 38 Degrees member from Glasgow who would be happy to pay a little extra in tax, said: "We cannot complain about lack of services and then not help generate funds for those services simply because we want to be greedy.

"If I can spare a little more money than a person earning less than me, then I should do so."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "The serious economic threat posed by Brexit, coupled with continuing UK Government austerity following the UK Government's budget earlier this week, means we are seeing increasing pressure on our public services, and the time is right for a discussion about how we protect these vital services.

"That is why we have started a conversation, including the publication of our discussion paper, to look at how best to use our income tax powers, with the principles of fairness and protecting those on the lowest incomes at the heart of our considerations.

"Following this careful and detailed discussion, we will publish a balanced package of tax and spending proposals as part of the draft budget on December 14."

:: Survation questioned 1,017 people aged 16 and over in Scotland between November 27 and 30.