Nicola Sturgeon paves the way for 'modest' tax rises for Scottish voters
Scottish voters earning more than £24,000 a year could end up paying more tax under plans outlined by Nicola Sturgeon.
The SNP leader said "modest" tax rises may be needed to protect investment in public services north of the Border.
Ms Sturgeon set out various options for hiking taxes at a press conference in Edinburgh.
In three out of the four alternative approaches set out, those earning between £24,001 and £43,000 would pay 1% more than they do now.
Those earning more than £150,000 would see their income tax rate rise from 45% to between 46% and 50%.
Ms Sturgeon said: "Nothing is a foregone conclusion until the budget is not just presented but passed, but I think you can get the sense from the paper today, from what I’ve said previously, from what I’m saying today, that I think the time is right to consider modest additional contributions to protecting the things that we hold dear.”
She added: "With all the pressure that we now face, we must consider whether the time has come for those who earn the most to enable us to do so. So it is to help aid and inform that discussion that this consultation paper is being published today."
The First Minister called on other parties to support her, and rejected suggestions that increasing taxes would deter investment in Scotland.
She said: "There is nothing in this paper that would come even close to outweighing the value of tuition fee-free university education or personal care or free prescriptions or the extra investment that we make per head in the NHS or on public services,” she said.
"Scotland will remain not just the part of the UK with the best quality public services, the most generous social provision, but also the most cost-effective part of the UK to live in."
But Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson said: "We support a competitive tax regime because we believe that will develop Scotland’s economy – boosting the tax income we need for our schools and hospitals.
"We don’t think it’s right that every Scot earning over £24,000 should have to pay more."