I am writing with regards to and in response to a number of concerns raised with the Federation about planned income tax rises in Scotland that will affect all those earning £26,000 or more per year.
As you may have seen in the media in recent days, Secretary of State for Defence Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP has announced that he will campaign for an Armed Forces exemption for the increase in Scottish income tax, which is of course a devolved issue determined by the Scottish Assembly.
The Federation very much welcomes the Secretary of State’s intervention. We are of course acutely conscious of the situation and financial implications for Federation members in Scotland compared to colleagues elsewhere in the UK and have been engaged with the Force on this matter since its announcement.
In principle, we believe it would be entirely appropriate for the MDP to be included in any exemption the Secretary of State is able to secure. However, this view is conditional on any exemption having no impact or reducing members’, or their families access to essential public services such as the NHS that are funded by income tax.
We have contacted both the Chief Constable and the Minister for Defence Persons and Veterans, Rt Hon Tobias Ellwood MP, to register with them the concerns raised by Federation members living in Scotland and to seek clarity and their comments on this issue. We have highlighted in these communications that, should there be no impact on access to public services, Federation members and MDP officers should be subject to any agreed exemption. However, we are of course acutely aware that access to services must be a priority.
We will of course keep you updated with progress on these communications.