Scottish Elections: Where do the parties stand on Income Tax? | Autonomy Scotland

Scottish Elections: Where do the parties stand on Income Tax?

In the next few days we are going to share some information about where each Scottish Party stands on the key issues. Today we start with Income Tax. Below we will list the key policies of the six main Scottish parties with regards to income tax. First however it is important to understand the context of these policies.

The table below shows the current rates and bands of income tax after personal allowances. The allowance for most people is £11,000 a year, which means that you do not pay income tax on the first £11,000 you earn. In April 2017 there will be two main changes to the income tax system at UK level. The first is that the personal allowance will be raised to £11,500. The second is the higher tax rate threshold, at which point the amount charged rises from 20% to 40%, will rise from £42,385 (and a planned £43,000 from 6 April 2016) to £45,000 on 6 April 2017. Which is a tax cut for people in that band.

BandRateIncome after allowances
2016 to 2017
Income after allowances
2015 to 2016
Income after allowances
2014 to 2015
Income after allowances
2013 to 2014
Starting rate for savings10% (0% from 2015 to 2016)Up to £5,000Up to £5,000Up to £2,880Up to £2,790
Basic rate20%Up to £32,000Up to £31,785Up to £31,865Up to £32,010
Higher rate40%£32,001 to £150,000£31,786 to £150,000£31,866 to £150,000£32,011 to £150,000
Additional rate45%Over £150,001Over £150,001Over £150,001Over £150,001

At the moment the Scottish Parliament, through the Scottish Rate of Income Tax, has the power to raise or decrease the amount of income tax we pay across the board. So, if they add 1 penny on the pound to the basic rate this would also apply to the higher rate. From April 2017 the Scottish Parliament will be able to change the thresholds for each band of income tax and the rates at which those are taxed. This means that from April 2017 the Scottish Government will have more flexibility to target certain income groups with tax changes.

So, it is in the context of Tory cuts to the Higher Rate of tax and in the light of more extensive future tax powers the following policies are being proposed. You can click on each party logo to link to the party manifesto pages.

Income Tax Policy for 2016 election.



From 2017 raise the top or ‘additional’ rate of income tax on those earning over £150,000 per year from 45p in the pound to 60p.

A new band covering taxable income between £50,000 and £150,000 per year, levied at 45 per cent.





Ensure that by 2021/22 the amount of income that can be earned without any income tax being paid rises to £12,750 by creating a new zero-rate band.

To freeze the higher rate threshold so proposed 2017 UK cut does not take effect in Scotland




A one pence across the board rise in income tax with the money raised to be spent on Education.

If the opportunity arises to offer future income tax cuts their priority will be to increase the starting point for income tax in Scotland by creating a new zero-rate band.



scottish labour


A one pence across the board rise in income tax.

To freeze the higher rate threshold so proposed 2017 UK cut does not take effect in Scotland.

Increase the top rate to 50p for those earning more than £150,000.





For tax rates to be the same as they are in the UK including the 2017 tax cut for higher earners.






From 2017, the current Basic Rate of 20% would be replaced by two bands – 18% for the first £7,500 of income above the personal allowance and 22% for income above £19,000.  Income above £43,000 would be taxed at 43%, and income above £150,000 would be taxed at 60%.



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