Boris Johnson has been told he should be “ashamed” of himself over his plans to hike taxes.
At PMQs, the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford accused the Prime Minister of seeking to impose a “regressive Tory poll tax” on millions of Scottish workers.
And he highlighted research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation suggesting that around two million families on low incomes could be set to pay an average of an extra £100 per year as a result of a rise in national insurance.
It comes after Johnson on Tuesday announced a 1.25 percentage-point increase in National Insurance (NI) contributions to fund health and social care.
The Prime Minister said that Scotland will receive more than £1bn under the changes.
In a clash in the Commons on Wednesday, Blackford warned of the return of the “austerity agenda” under the Conservatives.
“This is a tax hike on the poor and on the young, Prime Minister, and you should be ashamed of yourself,” he told MPs.
“We now know the economic direction of this toxic Tory government. We’re going to see furlough scrapped, Universal Credit cut, more tax hikes for the low paid.
“Let us be in no doubt, this is the return of the Tories’ austerity agenda. It is austerity 2.0.
“On this Prime Minister’s watch, the United Kingdom now has the worst levels of poverty and inequality anywhere in North-West Europe.
“And in work poverty, Prime Minister, has risen to record levels this century. More Tory austerity cuts will make this even worse.”
He added: “Scotland deserves better. There is clearly no chance of a fair Covid recovery under this Prime Minister and under this Westminster government.
“Isn’t it the case, Mr Speaker, that the only way to protect Scotland from Tory cuts and the regressive tax hikes is to become an independent country with the full powers needed to build a fair, strong and equal recovery for the people of Scotland.”
Johnson hit back at Blackford, and pointed to comments previously made by the deputy first minister of Scotland John Swinney.
He said: “Well, I don’t think that is the right priority for this country or for the people of Scotland.
“And I just remind him actually the words of the deputy leader of the Scottish Government, who welcomed when the Labour government put up NI by a penny to pay for national health service, he said, ‘I’m absolutely delighted,’ this is a guy called John Swinney, ‘I’m absolutely delighted that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has now accepted [that] progressive, progressive, progressive taxation is required to invest in the health service in Scotland.
“I mean, get your story straight. This is more cash for people in Scotland, it’s more investment for families in Scotland.
“It’s good for Scotland and good for the whole of the United Kingdom.”