Hundreds of Scottish Government staff pay taxes in England, figures show

Around 1.7% of those working for the Government reside in England, and pay taxes to the UK Government, figures show.

Hundreds of Scottish Government staff pay taxes in England, figures show Getty Images

The Scottish Tories have said it is “embarrassing and telling” that 280 Scottish Government employees pay tax in England.

Figures released to the party under freedom of information show about 1.7% of those working for the Government reside in England, and pay taxes to the UK Government, as of December 27.

In total, 16,345 people work across Scottish Government departments.

The Tories claim the figure demonstrates behavioural change caused by higher income tax rates in Scotland, although it is not clear why staff take decisions to live in England.

The figures come after Deputy First Minister Shona Robison announced further tax divergence from the rest of the UK last month as she laid out the Government’s budget.

Under the plans, the top rate of tax will increase by 1p in the pound, while a new rate for those earning above £75,000 will be introduced.

According to the Scottish Fiscal Commission (SFC), those living in Scotland and earning more than £28,850 pay more tax than in the rest of the UK, with the impact largely seen in those earning more than £50,000.

Median earnings for next year, the body said, would be about £28,200.

Scottish Tory finance spokeswoman Liz Smith said the difference in tax rates north and south of the border is a “huge disincentive” for people to live and work in Scotland, adding: “It is embarrassing and telling that so many Scottish Government staff should be paying the rate that applies south of the border to avoid the punitive tax imposed by the SNP.

“While it is entirely understandable that those with valid grounds for doing so – for example, if their family home is in England – should choose to avoid the extra tax imposed by the SNP, it is also a humiliating rebuke to their employer.

“And, after the latest tax hikes in Shona Robison’s disastrous budget, it would be no surprise if more people in the south of Scotland moved house to Berwick or Carlisle – to avoid being clobbered further.”

The figures, she added, “are a portent of the growing behavioural change we can expect in the wider workforce”.

SFC chair Professor Graeme Roy told journalists last month the Scottish Government should undertake work to evaluate the behavioural impact of its tax choices.

A spokesperson for Robison said: “We will take precisely zero lessons from the Tories on tax policy – their credibility rating was downgraded to junk status the moment they demanded we copy Liz Truss’s disastrous tax policies, which wiped billions from the economy, endangered pension funds and pushed up mortgage interest rates.

“Official statistics show that thousands more people have moved from Tory-run England to SNP-run Scotland than vice versa in the last few years – and no wonder. Thanks to the SNP’s progressive tax decisions, the majority of people in Scotland pay less income tax than they would elsewhere in these islands, and average Scottish council tax bills are also hundreds of pounds lower than south of the border.

“Meanwhile, everybody in Scotland benefits from universal services like free prescriptions when they are ill, and their kids can attend some of the finest universities right on their doorstep without paying a penny.”

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