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Scottish Budget 2019 approaches amid lack of opposition support

The Scottish Budget 2019-20 will be published on Wednesday, 12th December, by Scotland’s Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay, outlining the Scottish Government’s tax and spending priorities for the upcoming financial year.

According to the Finance Secretary, his proposals for Scotland in 2019-20 would “protect vital public services and prioritise spending on health, education and economic investment”.

In a recent interview ahead of the Scottish Budget 2019-20, Mr Mackay revealed he has scope to increase the threshold of the higher rate income tax band.

However, Mackay insisted he would not follow suit with UK Chancellor, Philip Hammond in increasing the higher rate income tax threshold to £50,000 in April 2019.

In fact, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said Mackay could lift 40,000 children out of poverty and raise £210 million more for benefits by freezing the threshold for the higher rate of income tax for the next three years.

Meanwhile, Mackay reinforced his commitment to delivering economic growth for Scotland and that he was “very pro-business”.

Despite the finance secretary’s warm words towards Scottish businesses, at least 21 business groups such as the Scottish Chambers of Commerce and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) employers’ lobby urged for Mackay to rethink plans to implement an additional business rates levy.

The new levy is set to be aimed at premises situated out-of-town and e-commerce retailers, with the proceeds used to underpin retailers in town centre locations.

There is also uncertainty surrounding the finance secretary’s budget proposals due to resistance from other parties in Holyrood.

The minority SNP Government requires the support of at least one other party in Holyrood and both the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Greens are not yet prepared to support the proposals without additional commitments being made.

Mr Mackay insisted that he would be holding further talks with opposition parties “in the weeks ahead” to try and come to a compromise with its most likely partners in Holyrood.

Don’t forget

For a detailed round-up of all the key talking points from tomorrow’s Scottish Budget 2019-20 affecting small businesses in Scotland, stay tuned to our Budget reports section where you’ll find our comprehensive summary.

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