Cut Scots’ income tax and target sugar, committee told

A TAX ON SUGARY PRODUCTS should fund a 2p cut in income tax in Scotland once new powers come into force next year, Holyrood’s finance committee has been told.

Former chairman of the Reform Scotland think-tank Ben Thomson told MSPs the move would show that the country is “open for business”, the BBC reports. He said the tax cut would cost about £660m.

From April next year, Scotland will gain the power to set its own income tax rates as part of a raft of concessions made by the coalition government in the last parliament as it campaigned to keep Scotland in the UK. Edinburgh will also be assigned a share of VAT and the full devolution of air passenger duty.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon (pictured) has already hinted the powers will not initially be used, as it would entail making alterations to all tax bands, rather than being more targeted. Greater control over the rates and bands will not come into force until 2018 with the Scotland Bill.

Thomson told MSPs on the committee that it would be a “great disappointment” if Scotland simply “mirrors what happens in the rest of the UK” after April.

He said: “It seems an immense opportunity to actually do something with the taxes that we have, and use them to provide a better tax system.”

Cutting income tax for Scots would “give a really good message that you’re doing something positive”, he said.

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