NICOLA Sturgeon has blasted Labour's shadow chancellor after it was claimed that higher taxes in Scotland equated to the SNP "mishandling the economy". 

Rachel Reeves claimed high earners in Scotland pay more tax than their counterparts in the rest of the UK because the SNP has mishandled the economy during an event in Glasgow on Thursday. 

She added that she would not raise taxes for middle and high earners if Labour forms the next UK Government.

In February, MSPs approved income tax increases to the higher and top rate bands, while those on the starter, basic and intermediate rates saw no change to the amount they pay.

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For those on a higher rate, income above £31,092 and up to £125,140, the tax increased to 42%, while for those on the top rate, above £125,140, saw their tax band increase to 47%.

Analysis from the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) found that any worker in Scotland earning over £28,000 will pay more tax than if they lived in England and Wales.

An employee on £50,000 a year would pay £1500 more in tax, while those on £150,000 will pay £3900 more.

Speaking during a visit to Glasgow last week, Reeves told The Times: “The way I see it is the last Labour government was able to keep taxes low and invest in public services and we were able to do it because we grew the economy.

“But when Labour was last in power — and we were in for 13 years —the average growth rate per year was 2.1 per cent. The average growth rate the last 13 years under the Tories has been 1.4 per cent. And taxes are at the highest level of being in the UK for 70 years.

“The Conservatives have become a high tax party and the SNP too because they became low-growth parties, and we’ve got to grow the economy and that is why the first mission that Keir [Starmer] and me set out is to grow the economy, to have the highest sustained growth because it was only through getting that growth that you have the money to sustainably invest in public services and raise living standards.”

However, Sturgeon hit back at Reeves on Twitter and said that higher taxes were about redistribution of wealth - an idea she said the Labour Party once believed in. 

She said: "In reality, it is because @theSNP believes in a fair element of redistribution - asking those who earn most to pay a bit extra to support, eg, record NHS investment & the unique Scottish Child Payment lifting families out of poverty.

"Labour, now Tory-lite, once backed that too"

Labour’s “green prosperity plan”, Reeves said, would see Scotland gain plenty of benefits from industrial jobs created in the renewables sector - including hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, and floating offshore wind.

READ MORE: Kate Forbes: I will be first minister to secure Scottish independence

The shadow chancellor claimed that the UK was falling behind the US, Europe and Australia on attracting industries to Britain’s ports and coastal communities.

She said: “Businesses have a choice: they don’t have to invest here in Britain and increasingly they’re not.”

Reeves said she could work with the SNP to “further the interests of UK plc” if she becomes chancellor, in the event that Labour win the next General Election and take over at Westminster.

The National: Reeves and Starmer were joined by Sarwar at Siemens Rail Automation Cambuslang Depot last weekReeves and Starmer were joined by Sarwar at Siemens Rail Automation Cambuslang Depot last week (Image: PA)

During her Glasgow visit with party leaders Keir Starmer and Anas Sarwar, part of a charm offensive arranged by the party last week, Reeves couldn’t resist the opportunity to criticise the “unedifiying spectacle” of the SNP leadership race and claimed candidates were “rip[ping] shreds out of each other”.

She added: “They’re just so out of touch and so inward looking rather than focusing on the big issues that are affecting Scotland: the cost of living crisis, how to grow the economy, how to fix the wretched state of the NHS and schools and further education.”

SNP deputy Westminster leader Mhairi Black accused Labour of harming Scotland’s economy by standing “side by side with the Tories in keeping us locked outside the [European] single market”.