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  1. MSPs take evidence on policing and criminal justice post-Brexit
  2. Ministers are quizzed during topical questions
  3. The Scottish government leads a debate on its motion for a Scottish rate resolution on income taxes
  4. SNP MSP Christina McKelvie leads a member's debate entitled 'Quick Credit Voucher, Tackling Fuel Poverty in Scotland'

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Louise Wilson

All times stated are UK

That's all from Holyrood Live

Derek Mackay said his plans would give Scots taxpayers the best deal in the UK
Derek Mackay said his plans would give Scots taxpayers the best deal in the UK

That's all from Holyrood Live on Tuesday 20 February 2018.

MSPs agreed changes to Scotland's income tax system which will set up new rates and bands.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has put forward plans for a new five-band system which will cut bills for lower earners but raise them for others.

MSPs passed the proposals, which are part of the budget deal the SNP struck with the Greens, by 67 votes to 50.

The vote means Mr Mackay's spending plans will go to the Holyrood chamber for final approval tomorrow.

Read more here.

UK government green deal criticised by minister

Fuel poverty
Getty Images

The UK government green deal scheme has failed people across Scotland, the minister suggests, and calls for people to be compensated.

He says the Scottish government will seek to work with energy companies to respond to the needs of communities, pointing to a recent summit where suppliers agreed to do more to help those struggling to pay bills.

More information on plans for a publicly-owned energy company will be provided later this year, Kevin Stewart confirms.

Background: A token debate on a historic day

Brian Taylor

BBC Scotland Political Editor

income tax

It was an historic moment. Holyrood making substantial use of income tax powers for the first time. MSPs voting for the biggest change in taxation since the advent of devolution.

As is so often the case with such moments, there was a certain lassitude about proceedings. A sense of role play. All passion spent, a sense of a token, faintly totemic debate.

I do not remotely blame our MSPs for this. The budget and tax debate has been, understandably and rightly, prolonged.

Murdo Fraser, he of the Conservatives, noted as he opened his remarks that it seemed as if Holyrood had been debating tax for months. Only one correction, Murdo. You HAVE been debating tax for months.

Read more here.

'We are investing more in tackling fuel poverty than any other government'

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart plays tribute to the "tireless work" of Christina McKelvie on the Quick Credit Voucher for those who use foodbanks.

Mr Stewart says these schemes are only necessary due to the punitive welfare reforms imposed by the UK government.

The minister points to the Scottish government's £1m Fair Food Fund which aims to eradicate the need for foodbanks.

He says: "We are investing more in tackling fuel poverty than any other government."

Universal credit criticised by SNP MSP

SNP MSP Ruth Maguire
SNP MSP Ruth Maguire

SNP MSP Ruth Maguire says the credit voucher scheme is stopping some families from having to make the decision between food or fuel.

Benefit sanctions and universal credit are major factors in people having to seek help, she says.

More can be done to support vulnerable customers says Labour MSP

Labour MSP Pauline McNeill
Labour MSP Pauline McNeill

Labour MSP Pauline McNeill suggests more can be done by energy companies to support vulnerable customers, particularly those on prepayment meters.

She argues customers should be taken off standard variable tariffs, as they are paying on average £300 more.

Budget calculator: How will the Autumn and Scottish Budgets affect you?

The budget

Use our Budget calculator, developed by Deloitte, to find out how the tax measures may affect you in the coming year.

We have included the new Scottish income tax brackets for 2018/19, so you can see how much tax you will pay depending on where you live in the UK.

Some changes will not be seen until future financial years and are not included in this calculator.

If you are in Scotland tick the box in the "personal details" section.

Click here for your budget calculator.

Background: Fuel poverty levels in Scotland decrease as energy prices fall

Douglas Fraser

Scotland business & economy editor

Scottish government figures for 2016 show that 649,000 households spent 10% of income on fuel to warm the home
Getty Images
Scottish government figures for 2016 show that 649,000 households spent 10% of income on fuel to warm the home

Fuel poverty has fallen by nearly 100,000 households in a year, according to the latest home conditions survey.

The Scottish government figures show that in 2016, 649,000 households had to spend more than 10% of income on fuel to warm the home.

According to statisticians, two thirds of the change was explained by falling energy prices, and one third by improved energy efficiency.

Very little of the change was explained by rising income.

Tory MSP calls for energy efficiency improvements

Tory MSP Alexander Burnett
Tory MSP Alexander Burnett

Tory MSP Alexander Burnett calls for more of the capital budget to be spent on making homes energy efficient.

Rural homes are often difficult to heat efficiently, he notes, and highlights the knock-on effect this can have on health.

Investment in energy efficiency will see the numbers of people living in fuel poverty drastically decrease, the Tory MSP concludes.

SNP MSP calls for voucher scheme to be rolled out nationally

SNP MSP Christina McKelvie

SNP MSP Christina McKelvie begins by highlighting the prevalence of fuel poverty in Scotland.

She says "heartening progress" is being made on tackling fuel poverty.

The SNP MSP praises Scottish Power for their scheme.

There are eight agencies running the credit voucher scheme, the MSP notes, and she urges the other big six energy companies to consider doing the same.

Scottish Gas and npower are commended for also running similar schemes, particularly the fact that the companies not only help their own customers.

Ms McKelvie notes 80 families in her constituency have been helped by the credit voucher scheme and urges it to be rolled out across Scotland.

Here's the motion.......

Scottish Parliament

Tackling fuel poverty

Fuel poverty

Ms McKelvie also praises the volunteers of the Hamilton District Foodbank, noting their tireless work in providing food and assistance for over 4,015 people throughout 2016-17.

The SNP MSP says in her motion that the Quick Credit Voucher model can be used as a template by others when offering customers support with their energy needs.

She says other energy companies, including E.ON, npower, British Gas, EDF and SSE are being encouraged to respond to this campaign, helping those across Scotland who face the uncertainty of fuel poverty.

'Quick Credit Voucher, Tackling Fuel Poverty in Scotland' debate

Fuel poverty
Getty Images

SNP MSP Christina McKelvie will now lead a member's debate entitled 'Quick Credit Voucher, Tackling Fuel Poverty in Scotland'.

The Quick Credit Voucher scheme from Scottish Power offers a £49 credit payment designed to support customers who are referred to foodbanks and may be in need of fuel assistance.

The scheme is being piloted at the Hamilton District Foodbank.

The Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse MSP praises Scottish Power for showing an ethical and morally responsible approach in assisting customers to tackle fuel poverty.

BreakingMSPs vote to pass the Scottish Rate Resolution motion

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay

MSPs vote to pass the Scottish Rate Resolution motion, with 67 MSPs and with 50 against.

So it's game on for the Budget Bill tomorrow.

Join us for Stage 3 proceedings from 2.40pm.

It's decision time......................

bbc/PA/GettyImages/Scottish Parliament

MSPs vote on the Scottish Rates Resolution.

Here is the all important Scottish Rates Resolution motion...............


Rate resolution deserves the support of parliament concludes finance secretary

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser notes the SNP has previously called for cuts to copropration tax, air passenger duty, fuel duty and others.

Did they ever say how these cuts would be paid for, he asks.

"What a ridiculous position from Murdo Fraser", Derek Mackay responds.

Derek Mackay
Derek Mackay

The Labour party is proposing to align itself with the Conservatives by voting against the rate resolution today, Mr Mackay says.

The proposals commands the support of the Scottish people and it deserves the support of parliament at decision time, the finance secretary argues.

Background: SFC revised forecast

Changes to the Scottish Government's budget will raise an extra £62 million, the Scottish Fiscal Commission has confirmed.

The independent body has published official forecasts for income tax revenue, updated to reflect revisions to the 2018/19 tax and spending plans approved by MSPs last month.

The extra revenue comes from a change to the higher rate threshold and the extension of the public sector pay rise.

SFC revised forecast

An anomaly in the draft budget proposals from December would have seen those earning between £43,525 and £58,500 paying less tax rather than more.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said this would be addressed by changing the higher rate threshold to £43,438 rather than the £44,274 that had originally been proposed.

The commission forecasts the move will raise a further £55 million, taking the total additional revenue raised by the final income tax policy to £219 million.

The extension of the Government's public sector pay policy to apply to 75% of public sector workers is forecast to raise a further £7 million in income tax.

Here is the revised forecast from the SFC.

'A majority of basic rate tax payers will actually pay less'

Mr Mackay

Mr Mackay says Murdo Fraser just can't accept the fact 70% of taxpayers will pay less under these plans and Scotland will be the lowest taxed part of the UK.

A majority of basic rate tax payers will actually pay less he says.

The SNP MSP says if the Tories keep propagating a negative image about Scotland's tax regime then no wonder the preception is negative.

He says his plans are fair and progressive.

Background: Scottish Fiscal Commission: Economy facing subdued growth


In December we reported that Scotland's economy was facing "subdued" growth over the next five years, according to the Scottish Fiscal Commission.

The independent body had predicted the Scottish economy will grow at less than 1% per year until 2022.

Its five-year forecast suggested GDP growth will be 0.7% in both 2017 and 2018, rising to 1.1% in 2022.

It said the outlook was "driven by slow productivity growth and exacerbated by demographic challenge

Finance secretary defends Scottish economy

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay begins by stating that on the Scottish economy is resilient, as indicated by a range of indicators.

He accuses the Conservatives of trying to talk it down.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay

The cabinet secretary notes Brexit has knocked consumer confidence, which he places at the door of the UK government.

Mr Mackay goes on to list measures taken by the Scottish government to stimulate the economy - such as R&D investment, the South of Scotland enterprise agency and growing modern apprenticeships.

'This is the pay more get less budget'

Tory MSP Gordon Lindhurst
Tory MSP Gordon Lindhurst

Tory MSP Gordon Lindhurst asks how much tax revenue will be lost if this budget goes through.

Mr Lindhurst says: "This is the pay more get less budget."

So what is the Scottish rate resolution?

Derek Mackay

I'm glad you asked again, so here we go.

It is the non-savings, non-dividend (NSND)income tax rates and bands are proposed in the draft Budget document and passed by the Scottish rate resolution.

Stage 3 of the of the Budget Bill cannot begin until the Scottish rate resolution motion is agreed by Parliament.

So this debate is as crucial as the final debate on the Budget Bill, so best buckle up.

Click here for the Scottish government's details on its budget.

Tory MSP criticises SNP's record on economic growth

Tory MSP Gordon Lindhurst
Tory MSP Gordon Lindhurst

Tory MSP Gordon Lindhurst says the Scottish economy under the SNP is "struggling to keep pace with the rest of the developed world".

Brexit is not an excuse, he argues, pointing to Scottish growth not matching the rest of the UK for much of a decade.

Responding to the suggestion that his party's proposals would see £500m of cuts, Mr Lindhurst argues the Conservatives are focused on growing the economy and improving the tax take that way.

He says the Scottish government is not targeting the rich with its proposals, but hard-working families that already struggle to make ends meet.

Baillie accuses Sturgeon of running a 'million miles away' from 50p top rate

Ms Baillie

Ms Baillie says the cabinet secretary is storing up problems for the country and accuses him of back of the envelope accountancy.

The Labour MSP says salary rises are not one off for one year only, they need to be paid for every year hereafter.

She calls on the cabinet secretary to commit for the money for the public sector pay rise to be put in place for more than just next year.

The Labour MSP says the first minster used to call for a 50p top rate of income tax but "when she has the power to do so she runs a million miles in the opposite direction".

Background: Scottish Labour sets out 'radical' new tax proposals

In January Scottish Labour put forward budget proposals to raise and spend an extra £960m with radical changes to taxation.

Labour's proposals would alter the system even further than the Scottish government proposals , with higher taxes and spending.


Leader Richard Leonard said "radical" use of Holyrood's tax powers could "end the failed experiment of austerity".

However, Mr Mackay said the "fantasy figures" were "riddled with blunders" and would actually raise far less money than Labour claim, while the Scottish Conservatives accused both parties of "hammering" taxpayers.

Read more here.

Background: Councils demand government cash for public pay rises

Getty images

Councils have asked the Scottish government for more cash to pay for public sector pay rises.

Ministers announced an end to the public workers' pay cap as part of their 2018/19 tax and spending plans.

The budget deal with the Scottish Greens means pay rises will now apply to 75% of public sector staff.

The Greens' deal also won an additional £170 million for councils, but umbrella group Cosla said pay remains a major issue for local authorities.

Tax proposals not enough to improve public services argues Labour MSP

Closing for Scottish Labour, Jackie Baillie notes from the outset that the rate resolution today and the Budget Bill tomorrow will pass because of the support of the Greens.

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie
Labour MSP Jackie Baillie

She notes the Scottish government's revenue budget has been cut by 0.8% while the capital budget has seen an increase - "a mixed bag", she says.

Ms Baillie notes the majority of the Scottish public support paying extra taxes to improve public services.

However, the Labour MSP warns that the proposals are not enough and the Scottish government has left itself open to criticism when improvements to public services are not seen.

Underspend in the budget is highlighted and Jackie Baillie asks the cabinet secretary which line of spending the underspend is from.

She urges the government to find "all the money" from underspend ahead of next year's budget.

Background: Not long now until historic vote on income tax

income tax

MSPs will shortly sign off changes to Scotland's income tax system which will set up new rates and bands.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has put forward plans for a new five-band system which will cut bills for lower earners but raise them for others.

The proposals are expected to pass in a vote at 5pm, as part of the budget deal the SNP struck with the Greens.

Mr Mackay's spending plans will then be put to the Holyrood chamber on Wednesday for final approval.

The Conservatives and Labour oppose the changes, which if agreed will come into force from the start of the new financial year in April.

Tax proposals 'fair, balanced and proportionate' says SNP MSP

SNP MSP Willie Coffey says the Scottish government can support the NHS, keep tuition and prescriptions free, and provide childcare thanks to its ability to raise money over and above the block grant.

He argues the tax proposals are "fair, balanced and proportionate".

SNP MSP Willie Coffey
SNP MSP Willie Coffey