Scottish Budget 2024 to 2025: attitudes to tax - public engagement

This document summarises the Scottish Government's engagement on public attitudes to tax.

Stakeholder Roundtable Summary


Ahead of each Scottish Budget, Scottish Ministers chair a series of pre-Budget roundtables with a range of stakeholders to understand their views on taxation.

For the 2024-25 Scottish Budget, there were two formal roundtables, chaired by Tom Arthur MSP, Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth. One session focussed on tax policy generally and one focussed specifically on property taxes. The organisations which attended these roundtables are:

  • Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT)
  • Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG)
  • Federation of Small Business (FSB)
  • Prosper (former Council for Development and Industry)
  • Scottish Property Federation
  • Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC)
  • UK Hospitality

Key Themes

Cost of Living

  • Stakeholders highlighted ongoing challenges for individuals and businesses due to the cost of living crisis. It was noted that the Scottish Child Payment is helping to support low income families and this momentum should be sustained. Stakeholders noted that driving economic growth should be a priority.

Longer term changes to tax system

  • Stakeholders agreed that a holistic view should be taken when considering tax policy, to ensure the wider impacts on individuals, families and business is understood.
  • Stakeholders offered several suggestions including: further adjustments to income tax bands; and consideration of wealth taxes, including a mobile wealth tax.
  • The role of TAG in the Budget process, if any, was queried. It was confirmed they did not.

Devolved taxes and further tax powers

  • The upcoming visitor levy legislation was discussed by stakeholders. It was stressed that continued close engagement with business was important to ensure the levy is sustainable. The introduction of the Aggregates Tax and Devolved Taxes Administration (Scotland) Bill was welcomed.

Tax engagement

  • It was noted that public understanding of the differences between the Scottish and UK system was mixed. It was also suggested that the link between taxes and public services needs to be highlighted, to facilitate an informed discussion.

Council Tax

  • There was agreement that reform of council tax should be a priority, particularly due to its regressivity. There was acknowledgement that reform will be challenging and required close collaboration between national and local government. Some stakeholders disagreed with the council tax freeze, though noted the broad political agreement for it.

Non-Domestic Rates (NDR)

  • The New Deal for Business and improved transparency and engagement with business stakeholders was highlighted as a positive step, as were the more regular evaluations for NDR.
  • Some concern was noted about the current poundage rates. Reference was made to a letter from 35 business organisations calling for a poundage freeze in 2024-25.
  • Calls were also made for consequential funding from any Retail, Hospitality and Leisure relief in England for 2024-25 to be passed on to businesses in Scotland this time.
  • SG’s commitment to lowering the Higher Property Rate was welcomed.
  • There was a query on whether Freeports’ timescales would be expanded in England and if so, there were calls for a similar timeframe in Scotland.
  • Concern was raised over SG’s commitment to explore whether relief eligibility could be linked to Fair Work First targets.
  • The challenges facing the hospitality sector were raised.



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