Scottish Budget

Forbes freezes income tax, offers costs pledge to business

Stand-in: Kate Forbes gave what one MSP described as a ‘feisty’ performance

Kate Forbes, a late stand-in for the disgraced Finance Secretary Derek Mackay, today confirmed that income tax rates will not change and insisted that the government would hold down the costs of doing business.

The Public Finance Minister was catapulted into delivering Mr Mackay’s speech after he resigned in a text messaging scandal.

In an assured address to parliament, she pledged a Scottish Budget delivering vision and leadership.

There would no be no increase in any rates of income tax in 2020-21, she said, and no Scottish taxpayer will pay more tax next year than this year.

There will be an inflationary increase in the threshold for the lower bands, with higher (41%) and top rates (46%) frozen.

Scottish taxpayers earning less than £27,243 will pay less in income tax than taxpayers elsewhere in the UK because of the lower Scottish starter rate of income tax, introduced in 2018.

Ms Forbes, just 29, was plunged into delivering the Budget after Mr Mackay was forced to step down and her performance was roundly applauded, no doubt giving the First Minister an early option on replacing Mr Mackay.

Not only was she only given just a few hours to prepare, she was also in the unusual position of delivering a Budget before the Chancellor announces his own statement in Westminster on 11 March, a circumstance brought about by the Christmas General Election.

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