Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has tweeted what she clearly thinks is a zinger about taxation in Scotland.
Responding to the news about the Scottish Budget, which will not include the tax break for higher earners included in the Westminster version, the Tory minister tweeted:
“If you earn £50,000 in Scotland you will be paying a whopping £1,500 more tax than someone south of the border – after SNP failed to match our Budget tax cuts.”
To top it off, she punctuated this with the hashtag: “#taxonaspiration”.
If you earn £50,000 in Scotland you will be paying a whopping £1,500 more tax than someone south of the border- after SNP failed to match our Budget tax cuts. #taxonaspiration
BBC News – Scottish budget: Higher earner income tax gap to widen https://t.co/VKIPloWiqJ
— Liz Truss (@trussliz) December 13, 2018
Her fellow Tories in Holyrood called the move a punishment, commenting that higher earners were “being punished in the SNP’s Scotland”.
But why do they think this is a good argument? Here are my questions:
1. Scottish people, famously, get quite a lot for their taxes: free university education, free prescriptions, free eye tests, free school meals, a social care system with free personal care for those who need it, and free care for the elderly. Are they really going to react badly to taxes when they get all this stuff?
2. If Scots get more bang for their buck and can see the benefits of their taxes, how is tax in Scotland a bad thing?
3. Isn’t Scotland a pretty good example, as highlighted by the replies to Truss’s tweet, of people feeling their taxes are a bit of a “bargain”?
4. Particularly the tax in question – £1,500 a year more than in England if you’re in the top bracket is a tiny sacrifice to make for free tuition fees and more, isn’t it?
5. Why is it a “punishment” not to reduce taxes on people earning £50,000 or more?
6. The average house price in Scotland is £144,377. So doesn’t earning £50,000 or more mean you could live like a king, even without a tax cut?
7. £50,000 is nearly double the average household income in Scotland – which is around £25,220. How is it unfair not to cut taxes for individuals who earn twice what most entire households earn?