THE First Minister has expressed interest in proposals which would see income tax hiked on the wealthiest in society to raise more money for the public purse.

Humza Yousaf said he was “very interested” in a report published by the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) last year which made the case for bringing more people into higher and top-rate tax thresholds and creating a new rate between those.

The proposals also included replacing council tax with a “proportional property tax and introducing a new commercial tax based on land value as well as a carbon tax on land.

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The STUC said in its report the Scottish Government could expect to boost its spending power by £3.3 billion per year if all its proposals aimed at redistributing wealth from the wealthy were introduced.

Speaking at the STUC’s annual conference in Dundee on Monday, Yousaf said: “On progressive taxation, let me say unequivocally, that I think there is scope for us to go even further.

“Taxes are, of course, set in budgets so I can’t make any particular announcements today – but I was very interested in the report on this subject which the STUC published at the tail end of last year and I’m very keen to make an early start on exploring the various different options.”

And he announced plans to allow local authorities to charge double council tax on second homes.

He said: “The Scottish Government will be consulting on giving new powers to local authorities which will allow them to increase council tax on second homes and empty homes.

“We’re also seeking views on whether councils should have the powers to set tax thresholds on self-catering accommodation.

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“Among other things, these changes could potentially help free up properties in rural areas, an issue of particular importance in maintaining and retaining and recruiting key workers to rural, remote and islands in Scotland.

“As such, we give another indication of where our priorities lie.”

Yousaf will give a speech in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, outlining in more detail the direction in which his government hopes to travel – potentially including issues such as a controversial proposed fishing ban to protect the environment and the deposit return scheme.