Rishi Sunak has said that it would be “very disappointing” if Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Shona Robison raises taxes for higher earners.
Robison is expected to announce government tax and spending plans for 2024 on Tuesday as there is a potential £1.5 billion black hole in their finances.
It is also expected that Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf will create a new tax bracket for higher earners in an attempt to land more money into the coffers.
Robison and Yousaf have been warned against raising taxes for Scots by Sunak and business groups.
Speaking to journalists at RAF Lossiemouth in Moray on Monday, Sunak said, “The first thing I’d say is the UK Government has provided a record amount of funding to the Scottish Government through the Barnett formula, so they’re ultimately responsible for the finances here in Scotland.
“But I can tell you what we’re doing in the UK is controlling spending and cutting people’s taxes and that’s going to kick in for everyone in Scotland and across the UK, a reduction in the rate of national insurance from 12% to 10% from January.
“That will save a typical person in work around £450 – it’s a significant tax cut.
“So that’s what the UK Government is doing to help Scottish families with the cost of living, which we know is a priority for them.
“But ultimately, it’s the Scottish Government that are responsible for their own finances – it’s already the highest taxed part of the UK and obviously it would be very disappointing to see that tax burden continue to rise in Scotland.”
However, Robison said that the “autumn statement” was “devastating for Scottish finance” and that they will “refuse” to follow the UK government’s spending decisions.
She said, “In the face of a deeply challenging financial situation, this budget will reaffirm our social contract with the people of Scotland.
“The autumn statement was devastating for Scottish finances. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has acknowledged that it will lead to planned real-terms cuts in public service spending.”
Robison added, “We refuse to follow UK Government spending decisions – indeed, we are doing all we can to mitigate them.
“We are proud that Scotland has a social contract which ensures people are protected by a safety net should they fall on hard times.
“This contract underpins this budget, with targeted funding to protect people and public services.”