Scotland's Grand Tax Larceny set to continue when council tax rates are set this month – John McLellan

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It’s budget debate day in the Scottish Parliament today, not that anything said will change the direction of a government seemingly impervious to sensible compromise and it will confirm Scotland as the highest taxed part of the United Kingdom.

So expect the SNP-Green coalition to press on with plans to spend up to £1.3 billion on setting up a new national care service, badly needed resources blown on bureaucratic reshuffling rather than investing in locally run front-line services where the impact could be immediate, not years in the future.

Expect too the rejection of 75 per cent business rates relief for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors which was granted in England and Wales in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, despite the Scottish Government receiving £222 million in “Barnet consequentials” as a result.

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And you can expect higher tax to be worn as a badge of pride by stand-in Finance Secretary John Swinney, who boasted in his December statement that his proposals “will raise around £1 billion more next year than if we had followed UK tax decisions”.

Maybe Scottish tax-payers would be happy to hand over more of their hard-earned cash if they could see it made a difference, but as the Greens seek to suppress economic growth, services continue to decline and money is frittered away on wasteful schemes, the only certainty is the Scottish tax larceny will continue.

The next raid on your piggy banks will be later this month when local authorities set their council tax levels for the coming year. Brace yourselves. It won’t be pretty.

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