Tory tax plans spark debate

General view of the Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood, Edinburgh.
General view of the Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood, Edinburgh.

Scottish Government analysis, claiming Tory tax proposals could mean cuts of £74.2 million to NHS Lothian, has been branded “ridiculous”.

With the Scottish Parliament set to vote on Stage 1 of the budget this month, the Tories are proposing tax cuts for high earners that the SNP say the tax proposals would leave a £500m hole in the budget.

Midlothian South MSP Christine Graham, (SNP) said: “Under the SNP, the NHS has record staffing and record funding - and the draft budget would see that funding increased. But this investment is only possible because of the decisions taken by the Scottish Government, with progressive policies seeing higher earners paying slightly more to support public services.

“The Tory tax plans would blow a £500 million hole in our budget – and that’s on top of a decade of UK government austerity.

“That would risk valuable public services in the Lothians and be equivalent to cutting 1777 nurses in the region. The Tories should explain why they’d prefer to give a handout to millionaires than fund our hospitals.”

A Conservative party spokesman said: “It shows how rattled the SNP have become about their failures on the NHS that they have had to resort to making ridiculous claims like these. The Scottish Conservatives would support NHS front line services, by cutting waste, scrapping SNP vanity projects, and above all by raising more tax revenue by growing the under-performing Scottish economy.

“The real threats to the NHS and Scottish public services are continued SNP mismanagement of resources, and self-defeating tax hikes which will choke off the prospects for economic recovery.”