Health payment

Sturgeon told she has power to deal with NHS bonus tax

Douglas Ross

Douglas Ross: ‘SNP needs to stop playing games’

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has accused the First Minister of “playing games” by claiming she cannot gift her £500 bonus to NHS staff tax free.

Nicola Sturgeon yesterday pledged the cash to thousands of health and social care workers but she claimed she did not have the power to stop them paying tax on it.

Instead, she put the onus on Prime Minister Boris Johnson “not to take any of it away in tax.”

But Mr Ross pointed to a response from the Fraser of Allander Institute which said the easier solution would be for the Scottish government to offer a gross payment of £625.

This would give NHS workers the full £500 and the Scottish Government would receive the £125 back in income tax. The Treasury need not be involved.

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Mr Ross added that the ‘thank you’ payments, far from being an SNP gift, have been funded by Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Covid spending guarantees, which have added nearly £10 billion to the Scottish Budget.

The Tory leader said the same economic experts had shown that “around £1 billion” of UK Government funding for Scotland had not been spent by the SNP. 

The SNP have all the funding and powers they need to top up this payment today. Any extra income tax would go to the Scottish, not the UK Government, so if they increase it, no-one misses out,” said Mr Ross. 

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