Richard Lochhead

Moray SNP News



Richard Lochhead MSP has accused Douglas Ross of misleading Moray’s military community over the MP’s false claims that service men and women in Scotland earning over £24,000 will pay higher tax bills than those in the rest of the UK.

Mr Ross told the House of Commons that the threshold for paying more than those in England is £24,000, however, research from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) backed by other independent sources found that while the tax rate goes up from 20 per cent to 21 per cent for those earning over £24,000, the actual amount payable does not due to the introduction of a 19p starter rate and an increase in the personal allowance.

According to the SPICe calculations, those earning up to £33,000 will pay less in tax than they will in the current year 2017-18, and when compared to the rest of the UK, those earning up to £26,000 will not face a higher tax bill.

Pointing to the fact that the lowest paid in the armed forces in Scotland will pay less tax, Richard Lochhead is now calling on Moray’s MP to apologise for misleading local military personnel, arguing that Mr Ross would be better using his time to campaign for an end to the public sector pay cap for military employees who have had a real terms cut in wages since 2010. 

Mr Lochhead said:

“Douglas Ross has tried to use our military community as a political football, but the fact is he simply hasn’t done his homework over these tax changes and he has misled personnel who live and work in Moray. As ever, our MP is more interested in headlines that accuracy, and ignoring the fact that those on the lowest wages in the military will pay less tax under the new arrangements.

“In all of his bluster, Douglas Ross has failed to acknowledge that personnel in Scotland have access to many services that are not available in other parts of the UK, including free prescriptions, free higher education, and free eye tests.  He has also ignored the fact that personnel based in Scotland pay on average £400 less in council tax than those in other parts of the UK.

“Military personnel are an important part of our community and at a time when the armed forces faces a recruitment crisis, our MP would be better spending his time fighting for an end to the pay cap for our serving men and women, or campaigning for much needed investment in military housing.  Maybe our Tory MP has gone AWOL on these issues, putting political games ahead of the morale and working conditions of our service personnel.”