Sobering Scottish Budget falls short of fundamental fair tax reforms required

Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Government has published its draft Budget for 2024/25. 

While the proposals will result in better-off people paying a bit more through targeted tweaks to Scotland’s tax system, including the welcome introduction of a new Income Tax band and an increase in the Top Rate, the Budget also includes a worrying funding squeeze for many poverty-reducing public services.  

While the Scottish Child Payment will be uprated in line with inflation this falls inadequately short of the £5 rise to at least £30 the First Minister committed during his leadership campaign as key measure to reduce child poverty. 

The draft Budget also confirmed plans for a Council Tax freeze next year – a move criticised on Monday in a joint letter to Scottish party leaders by Oxfam Scotland and 60 other organisations as having little benefit for people on low incomes while reducing funds for local services and extending the damaging political impasse on reforming the outdated tax. 

Responding to the Budget, Jamie Livingstone, Head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “Tackling the key challenges facing Scotland – including poverty, climate change and inequality – requires long-term thinking rather than short-term Budget sticking plasters.  

“This sobering Budget demonstrates disappointingly disjointed policy making on tax. While  the changes to Income Tax are fair and proportionate, the gains will likely be largely offset by a misguided Council Tax freeze which will do very little to help people on low incomes. The overall result will be a damaging squeeze on many vital public services which we all rely on, but which are particularly vital for those living in poverty.   

“This Budget once again fails to see the bigger picture as it is painfully silent on the urgent need to build cross-party consensus behind the fundamental, far-reaching, fair tax reforms required to truly invest in unlocking Scotland’s potential.” 



For more information please contact: Rebecca Lozza, Oxfam Media and Communications Adviser, Scotland and Wales: / 07917738450   

Notes to Editor