Readers' letters: ‘Brain drain’ claims over tax rises are scaremongering

It is always amusing to note the claims from certain quarters that higher income tax rates as announced in the recent Budget, will make Scotland a less attractive place to live and work.
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There will be an apparent “exodus” of middle-class earners, a “brain drain” of those heading to the brighter uplands south of the border where those earning more than £27,580 will pay less income tax than in Scotland.

What this neglects to highlight of is that income tax is only one element of taxation. The majority of Scottish council taxpayers, for example, are on average paying £590 a year less than they would in England and £423 less than in Wales. Average water charges are also lower in Scotland.

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Those parties also neglect to mention the free tuition enjoyed by Scottish students, with those south of the border having to pay over £9,000 a year. Prescription fees in England are also over £9 per item, while in Scotland they are free.

Edinburgh Sketcher 17 DecemberEdinburgh Sketcher 17 December
Edinburgh Sketcher 17 December

Better funded public services are a key element that make somewhere an attractive place to live.

Most Scottish taxpayers pay less income tax than their English neighbours, but for those with the broadest shoulders who pay more, let us not forget the likes of lower council tax, lower water charges, free university fees and free bus travel for pensioners and young people.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh

Obsession irony

John Swinney delivers the Scottish Budget for 2023-24 at HolyroodJohn Swinney delivers the Scottish Budget for 2023-24 at Holyrood
John Swinney delivers the Scottish Budget for 2023-24 at Holyrood

It was the irony to end all ironies when last week in Holyrood Finance Minister John Swinney called a questioner “obsessed” with her concern about the £20 million referendum fund the SNP has stashed. Clearly, Mr Swinney considers the £20m a chickenfeed amount and wondered why the questioner kept returning to it.

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Well, for a start, a chunk of the £20m could provide a warm shelter in which the hungry and homeless of Scotland’s largest city could be given enough food to sustain them in this arctic weather. It could be used also to help support efforts to lift Scotland from its worst position in all Europe with regard to drug deaths. It could help settle the nurses’ pay claim and perhaps hire a few more to help get us through the emergency in which the NHS in Scotland finds itself.

And when the £20m is spent, perhaps they could start closing down the pretend embassies and the jollies abroad for some of the administration.

Bit by bit, the change of focus from the SNP’s obsession would do some real, tangible good, not merely instigate more hatred and division.

Alexander Mackay, Edinburgh

Making choices

Ian Murray (News, 15 December) writes that politics is about choices and mentions Brexit. He was a remainer, supporting the UK remaining in the EU. But now he and his party have chosen to be hard Brexiteers along with the Tories. Keir Starmer says he will make Brexit work but we are still waiting to hear how, as Brexit is a disaster.

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In fact the majority of the UK now want to rejoin the EU. They realise the problems, unlike the Labour Party. There are staff shortages as a result of Brexit in the public sector, business sector, academia and haulage. Four per cent has been wiped from GDP and trade levels damaged, particularly in Scottish exports. Brexit has affected inflation and costs. We are poorer. We are losing rights and food and environmental standards.

Scotland did not vote for Brexit and Labour needs to put their view on the gaping democratic deficit in which Scottish votes are not honoured and on why they support Brexit which harms particularly the Scottish economy. Their choice.

Pol Yates, Edinburgh

Write to the Edinburgh Evening News

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