Scottish Labour’s tax plans will hurt most Scots and their own campaign

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale set out her party’s plans today to stop the need for government spending cuts with income tax rises.

Under her plans the Scottish Rate of Income Tax would rise by 1% across the board. This means Scotland’s income tax bands would be; 21%, 41%, and 46%. To stop ‘low earners’ being dealt a blow Ms Dugdale also announced a £100 rebate for those earning under £20,000.

As illustrated by blogger Kevin Hague this would mean the following:


The mechanism and journey behind the Scottish Rate of Income Tax is explained here by fellow blogger Graeme Cowie. It was part of the pre-Smith Commission further devolution settlement which now seems like a lifetime ago.

The problem for Scottish Labour is that more people will be directly worse off under their plans compared to the number of those that will benefit.

No political party has been successful in Scotland by asking the vast bulk of the country to pay more taxes. We may as a nation self-identify  as a part of Scandinavia that somehow floated away and became attached to a neo-liberal land mass called Britain but the evidence is missing.

Indeed the Scottish Government stressed to readers in its white paper on independence that independence did not equal higher taxes (Scotland’s Future, pg.386-387). It felt the need to stress that as it knew that fighting the referendum on the basis that ‘Yes’ equals higher taxes is not an attractive pitch.

Most Scots don’t want to pay more tax. It’s just a fact of life. Those who have campaigned on doorsteps will tell you that. The fetish of enjoying paying more tax is a minority pursuit.

Indeed the SNP had to learn this lesson the hard way. In 1999 during the campaign for the inaugural Scottish Parliament the SNP launched a similar 1p income tax rise proposal. The policy was ridiculed and then quietly dropped by the time of the 2003 election. It taught the SNP though a valuable lesson. They spent the next 15 years from the ‘penny for Scotland’ campaign building an all-encompassing Scottish nationalism which is not based on class or higher taxation.

That’s why they have been in power since 2007 and why they will still be in power for many years to come.

The Scottish Labour ship was already taking in water before this policy announcement today. Their sworn enemies the SNP have destroyed the party’s electoral base with their aforementioned all-encompassing political machine. Today, its captain has turned the ship to the left and now the party is heading straight for a Tory tax torpedo. Labourites should brace for impact.


Today’s tax plans from Scottish Labour has just validated the Scottish Tories’ entire election campaign message. Now Ruth Davidson can say as a matter of fact that she is the only Unionist party leader not proposing that Scots pay a higher rate of tax than their counterparts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Let’s be frank about Scottish Labour’s position in our politics today. They are pitching to the section of the electorate that is not interested in them while actively turning many middle class unionists – their new core voter base – off them. This is an electoral kamikaze campaign with the sole purpose of just trying to dent the SNP’s progressive facade.

If there was one thing that Scottish Labour – an army already suffering mass casualties – did not need was another front. Today they have opened up this new front voluntarily. God help them, as I’m not sure they can help themselves.


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4 Responses to Scottish Labour’s tax plans will hurt most Scots and their own campaign

  1. SG says:

    This middle class No voter is persuaded of the case for paying more tax. I’ve sat and watched my children’s school budget pared to the bone since the council tax freeze began (on the SNP’s watch no less, as they’ve been at the helm of my local council since 2007). I’ve sat and watched as services for disadvantaged communities in my hometown have been cut back. I was genuinely unsure about where I’d be placing my ‘X’ on 5 May. Now I feel as if I have a choice. I will vote for a party that is genuinely anti-austerity.

    • Brian Murray says:

      This is a party that held back £1.5 BILLION in an underspend and sent Scotland’s money back to Westminster earning Jack McConnell a Lordship. A party that has spoken out against Free School meals, free prescriptions and shouts about the attainment gap like it’s worse in Scotland than England because we don’t have to pay for it. A party that is Pro Trident, and which 28 Scottish MP’s voted WITH the Tories for Austerity and now tries to blame the SNP for Wm cutting our budget. A party that told us everything would be fine under the Tories and fought hard to sell us a Vow with the most restrictions out of all the parties involved. A party that said our shipbuilding was under threat with a No, our steelworks, our pensions, our NHS, and so much more under threat with a NO, which is all happening because we voted No, not despite it.

      Look around you, the devastation of the UK has been going on for over 30 years and Labour has been a major player in that, illegal Wars, PFI’s, Selling our Gold, Pension Raids, Deregulating Banks, Blowing our Oil. They are financial terrorists.

      If Scotland has to raise ADDITIONAL taxes just to survive AND for services we ALREADY pay taxes for, then Better Together was either an Epic Lie, or a Total failure, or both.

      Don’t be another Turkey that votes for Christmas… Labour are Toxic for Scotland

  2. Pingback: Scottish Labour, peering into the abyss, wake up and decide to do something - Spectator Blogs

  3. James Barr Gardner says:

    We pay more than enough tax, the problem is all about how it’s spent?

    Why should Scots pay towards foreign wars? We did not vote to be part of this madness!
    Why is Scotland having to pay towards HS2? We paid for the new Forth Crossing.
    Why did Scotland have to pay toward London Crossrail? We paid for the Borders Rail Line.
    Why will Scotland have to pay for towards the next London Crossrail? Any future Rail in Scotland will be paid by ourselves.
    Why will Scotland have to pay towards the replacement London Sewage System? We pay for our own infrastructures projects.
    Why is Scotland having to pay towards Trident replacement? We did note vote for this lunacy!

    Aye so much for caring and sharing, it’s more like take, take, take, forget about the giving and the have the gall to label the Scots scroungers.

    Vote for Independence, cast off these takers, we’ll do our own thing and we will prosper.

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