Holyrood’s presiding officer has suspended parliament for half an hour after details of the Scottish budget were leaked to the press. Alison Johnstone spoke to the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to express her “concern” at the leak. They gave her their “categoric assurance” that the information was not shared with the BBC by the Government.
The BBC published a story setting out the tax rates which were due to be announced by SNP Deputy Leader John Swinney later today.
It was revealed that Mr Swinney planned to increase income tax rates for higher earners.
Income tax rates in Scotland, as well as several other taxes, are set by the Scottish government rather than at Westminster.
He is expected to put up the higher rate of tax from 41p to 42p in the pound and to increase the top rate from 46p to 47p.
The tax threshold for the top rate is also expected to be lowered from £150,000 to closer to £125,000.
This change has already been announced for other parts of the UK by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.
The budget is expected to include around £500m extra for local government, along with an increase in the second homes tax part of the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax – the Scottish equivalent of stamp duty – from four percent to six percent.
Mr Swinney had been due to deliver his budget statement at 2.30pm but Ms Johnstone suspended the session for before he started speaking.
Speaking ahead of the budget announcement today, the Deputy First Minister said: “Our budget goals are mutually beneficial and represent a distinctive approach to the economic challenges we face.
“The Scottish budget will take further steps to address inequality and eradicate child poverty. It will encourage a just transition to net zero, creating wealth and opportunity across the country.
“It will be the catalyst for reforms necessary to ensure our first-class public services remain sustainable in the face of the challenges to come.”