FINANCE Secretary Shona Robison has said there have been “no decisions” made yet regarding raising taxes at the next Scottish Budget.

The Deputy First Minister told the Sunday Show that while the Scottish Government is taking a “progressive” approach to taxation, that due to the cost-of-living crisis they are approaching any further hikes with “caution”.

Robison said she had convened a group of tax experts to look at the situation in the “round” ahead of the Scottish Budget, which will be published at the end of this year, after the UK Government’s Autumn Statement.

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The MSP also pointed to work being done to reform the Scottish civil service and use of buildings in the public estate ahead of the Budget to provide services in a “more efficient way”.

She insisted that this would not consist of “sacking” any civil servants.

It comes after First Minister Humza Yousaf said last week that a wealth tax shouldn’t be ruled out.

Speaking on BBC Scotland’s Sunday Show, Robison (below) was asked if because of the upcoming by-election in Rutherglen and Hamilton West, the Scottish Government had a “duty” to tell voters on higher earnings if they could expect a tax hike.

The National:

“Well, we have set out over quite a period of time now that we have taken an approach to tax which is based on the principle of progressive taxation and fair taxation, those with the broadest shoulders pay a bit more,” she said.

“But we have to counter that, of course, with the cost of living situation and pressure that households are under and that's why I convened a group of tax experts to really look in the round about what a fair taxation system going forward looks like.

“What people get in Scotland for their taxes is quite different from elsewhere with free tuition, free prescriptions, and free travel.

“And of course, according to the data of the Scottish Fiscal Commission, which we base our analysis on, 52% of taxpayers in Scotland still pay less than they would if they lived elsewhere in the UK.”

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BBC presenter Martin Geissler said that the “only thing” Robison hadn’t said in her answer was that people who earn a “fair bit of money” will be expected to pay more tax.

She said; “Well, let me be clear, no decisions have been made at all yet about any changes to taxation.

“What I'm saying to you is the issues that we will be looking at so we're very, very aware that households are struggling, we're very aware that we need to proceed with caution, and we need to look at these things in the round.

“So you know, I am absolutely not saying that people's taxes will go up at all. What I'm saying is we're taking a very cautious approach.

The National: Humza Yousaf with Shona Robison

“First of all, those pressures on household budgets, and of course, we'll be absolutely transparent with our proposals once we have finalised them.”

Earlier, Robison explained that the Scottish Government had been working on the reform of the Scottish Government’s workforce and public estate.

Asked if that meant sacking civil servants, the Deputy First Minister said: “No, it's not about sacking anyone. It's about making sure that government and public bodies are the right size for the job that they have.

“So some of that will be because of growth. So we've seen Social Security Scotland grow because it is delivering more benefits and more support, the Ukraine programme grew because we had to create a UK programme and bring people in to support that.

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“But there will be other areas that, looking forward with more digitization for example, working a different way, people working from home more, we won't need the same configuration of buildings and potentially having the right size in the right place.

“We’re working with the union's on this in partnership, so it's not about civil servants being sacked.”

During the SNP leadership contest, Yousaf pledged to create a new band of income tax for those earning between £43,662 and £125,140, with the revenue raised potentially being used to fund increases in the Scottish Child Payment.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said that raising income tax to 45% for those in the top 10% of gross full-time earnings - above £58,285 - could lift 20,000 children out of poverty.

The National: Humza Yousaf

Speaking to journalists in Edinburgh last week, the FM (above) said: “I’ve said before when it comes to the issue of wealth taxes, and I refer back to some of the work the STUC has done on that in particular, I’ve said that we should give consideration when it comes to the really tough financial constraints that we’re under, that we shouldn’t rule wealth taxes off the table.

“We haven’t made a decision on them but I equally haven’t said that we shouldn’t rule these matters out, because we are facing extraordinary pressures, and for anti-poverty organisations who want us to go further, we’ve got to be able to find the finances and resources.”