The Scottish Budget – 19 December 2023


The Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Shona Robison, faced some difficult decisions in drawing up her first Budget. Inflation had taken its toll on spending, to which had been added new commitments such as a promised council tax freeze in 2024/25.

The situation was exacerbated by the UK government’s decisions in the Autumn Statement to reduce national insurance contributions and make full corporate expensing of plant and machinery permanent. Had Jeremy Hunt instead chosen to increase spending on services, more money would have flowed to Scotland.

Faced with such difficult considerations, Ms Robison reached for the income tax lever to raise more revenue. She unveiled a new 45% advanced rate tax band, applying to income between £75,000 and the start of the top rate band of £125,140. The top rate was itself increased by 1% to 48%, meaning that those earnings above that level will be subject to a marginal combined income tax and national insurance rate of 50%.

Read our Scottish Budget Economic Summary