THE First Minister yesterday announced the SNP’s plans not to give Scotland’s highest earners a tax cut proposed for the rest of UK by George Osborne could raise £1.2 billion more for public services north of the Border.

Outlining her election proposals, Nicola Sturgeon said from April next year the higher tax threshold would rise with inflation to £43,387, rather than to £45,000 as proposed by the Chancellor in the Budget.

She added there would be no rise in the basic rate of tax if the SNP is re-elected in May, and there would be no increase next year in either the higher 40p rate or the additional rate of 45p paid by those earning £150,000 a year or more.

She said: “By adopting a different path to the UK Government we could generate more than £1 billion of additional revenues, enabling us to protect the public services we all rely on,” she said.

“We believe that this proposal is reasonable. It is balanced and it is fair.”

In an apparent reversal of her party’s General Election manifesto commitment last year, she said that while she wanted the reintroduction of the 50p tax rate across the whole of the UK, the SNP has no plans for Scotland to do so on its own.

The First Minister said the decision followed concerns Scotland could lose millions if a small proportion of big earners moved their money out of the country.

Sturgeon announced if the SNP is returned to government, it would increase the threshold at which people start paying the levy over the five years of the next parliament to £12,750 – marginally higher than the UK’s proposed starting point for income tax of £12,500 by 2020-21.

Unveiling the plans at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow she said: “We have balanced the need to invest in and support our public services with a recognition that many households are still struggling to make ends meet and also with the need to grow our economy.”

From April next year the Scottish Government gains control over income tax rates and bands, as part of the devolution of new powers in the Scotland Bill.

While the Tories welcomed the SNP’s announcement that it would not to reintroduce the 50p rate, the SNP plans was criticised by others.

Grahame Smith, general secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress, described the proposals as “timid” and did not sit well with the SNP’s social justice agenda.

He said: “The Scottish Government has the capacity to design a fairer, more resilient system in which the burden is shared fairly across the income distribution. If it can’t summon the courage to propose major progressive change at this moment in time we have to ask if it ever will?”

Patrick Harvie, the co-convener of the Scottish Greens, which will publish its tax plans next week, also hit out, saying it was “breathtaking that the “very wealthiest” would not pay more.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, whose party wants to restore the 50p rate, said the decision to remain with the existing tax system would lead to public service cuts.

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser told the BBC’s World At One: “I think the SNP are quite right not to argue for the reintroduction of a 50p rate. That would be very bad news for Scotland and would simply drive away investment and high earners.”

However, he added he believed the SNP was wrong not to match the increase in the 40p threshold.