Moray MP Douglas Ross has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement today (Wednesday) that armed forces personnel serving in Scotland will be protected from SNP tax hikes again this year. Douglas was commenting after Theresa May announced that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will mitigate the cost of income tax rises for around 7,000 troops north of the border following a strong campaign from the Moray MP and the Scottish Conservatives.
The SNP 2019/20 budget widened the tax gap between Scotland and the rest of the UK, with anyone earning more than £27,000 paying more than they would if they lived south of the border. Today, the Prime Minister announced that mitigation to cover tax rises in 2019/20 will be paid to personnel at an estimated cost of about £6million.
Commenting Douglas said:“The MoD should not have to spend money to clear up the mess left by the SNP – but we must ensure that all our troops are treated equally.
“There is a long and proud military history in Moray, and I don’t believe personnel at Kinloss Barracks or RAF Lossiemouth should be penalised for serving here, which is why I’m grateful that the Prime Minister has listened to my concerns which were raised with the Defence Secretary and agreed to act again this year. Personnel don’t choose to come to Moray, they are posted here, so it’s only right that they pay the same tax as other members of the armed forces stationed in other parts of UK or around the world.
“While the SNP took the decision to make Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK, I’m glad the UK Government has stepped in to support personnel serving in Moray and across Scotland. This mitigation package will ensure that they will not be left out of pocket from the SNP’s tax hikes.”
Prime Minister, Theresa May, commented: “We will again be providing financial mitigation payments for those negatively impacted for the tax year 2019/20 by these Scottish income tax hikes, and by that Scottish income tax being higher than the UK, and a single financial payment will be made retrospectively in 2020.
“The Scottish Government may ignore our armed forces, we will stand by them.”
Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Defence, said:“I said last year that it was completely wrong for the brave men and women who serve in the UK military should be punished by the SNP just because they are stationed north of the border.
“Thanks to Douglas’s tireless campaigning and the support of the MoD, these mitigation payments will ensure that troops all across our United Kingdom are treated equally and fairly.
“This UK Government is proud of our armed forces and we do not think they should have to pay hundreds of pounds more due to tax hikes introduced by the SNP.”