Salmond refuses to commit to 50p tax rate after yes vote


Alex Salmond refused to commit to reintroducing the 50p rate of income tax if Scotland becomes independent, during first minister's questions on 6 March 2014.

Last year the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government reduced the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p.

At the beginning of this year Labour pledged to restore the rate to 50p, with Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls saying that "those with the broadest shoulders" should bear a "fairer share of the burden".

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont repeatedly asked the first minister if he would reintroduce the 50p tax rate after a 'yes' vote in September's independence referendum.

Mr Salmond said he agreed with Ed Balls that it was wrong and unfair to reduce the top rate of tax for the rich and said the SNP had followed that policy more consistently than Ms Lamont and her party colleagues .

"We think it is wrong, at this time, when the deficit is high, to ask ordinary people to bear burdens and them not to be shared by those who are better off."

The first minister said Labour had been in power at Westminster for 13 years, but only had a 50p top tax rate for 36 days.

However, he refused to make clear if the 50p tax rate would be reintroduced after a 'yes' vote in the independence referendum.

Ms Lamont said the SNP would "out Tory the Tories on tax in an independent Scotland".

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said 233 out of 386 of Scotland's police stations were now closed to the public or closed altogether "and that is a disgrace".

Mr Salmond hit back saying there was "1000 more police officers in communities around Scotland", adding it was "where the frontline officers are" that mattered.

Willie Rennie, the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, again called on the first minister to remove the proposal to abolish the general requirement for corroboration from the Criminal Justice Bill.

The first minister insisted that the general rule for corroboration had led to the denial of justice to some victims of the "worst crimes we have in our society".

In response to a question from SNP MSP Linda Fabiani, Mr Salmond expressed sadness on behalf of the chamber that economist Professor Ailsa McKay from Caledonian University had passed away.

He praised her as a "leading voice in the campaign for gender equality" and stressed the importance of noting her "astonishing contribution as a feminist economist".

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