Nicola Sturgeon will reject George Osborne’s income tax plans today as she outlines the SNP’s proposals ahead of May’s Holyrood election.
Both the First Minister and her deputy, John Swinney, will unveil the Scottish Government’s offer to the electorate with opponents squeezing the SNP from both the right and the left.
Conservative finance spokesman Murdo Fraser said it would not be “fair for Scots to be hit harder in the pocket”.
He added: “Our position has always been clear: Scottish people should not be paying higher tax than the rest of the UK. To do this would cause real damage to the Scottish economy, and make less money to support schools, hospitals and infrastructure.”
Ms Sturgeon appeared to confirm the SNP would place a greater tax burden on Scotland’s higher earners than those in the rest of the UK last week.
She told MSPs she wouldn’t follow the chancellor’s decision to give the better-off a tax break when Holyrood gains control of income tax.
That would see Scots earning more than £45,000 paying £400 more in tax than those south of the border.
Labour and the Liberal Democrats argued taxes should rise to pay for public services.
Both want to add 1p to income tax, with Labour offering a rebate for the poorest and the Lib Dems proposing a zero-rate band for low-paid workers.
Jackie Baillie, Labour’s public services and wealth creation spokeswoman, said: “When Nicola Sturgeon makes her announcement, she must spell out to the people of Scotland exactly how they are going to stop George Osborne’s cuts.”
Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said Ms Sturgeon and Mr Swinney have been “frozen to the spot” so far when it comes to using Holyrood’s powers.
He added: “The SNP have a dismal record on actually using the powers they have spent their lives calling for.”