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Humza Yousaf urged to increase taxes on wealthy as more school strikes loom

Higher income tax rates for Scots earning more than £75,000 should be introduced in the forthcoming Budget to pay for public-sector pay rises and prevent strikes, a union leader has said.

Roz Foyer, general secretary of the STUC, said Humza Yousaf needed to look “seriously” at reforming council tax and the wider redistribution of wealth, urging him to “pick a side”.

The latest round of disruptive industrial action is due to take place next week, when schools across the country are set to close as support staff walk out in a dispute over pay.

The strikes on Tuesday 26, Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 September will affect all but six of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas after the three major council unions rejected the latest offer from Cosla.

The unions have set a deadline of Wednesday for an improved proposal to be put forward, with council leaders meeting on Tuesday to discuss their options.

Ms Foyer said the Scottish Government could avert such strikes by paying workers fairly, suggesting that this could be done by taxing the wealthy.

“We’ve got a Budget coming up, there are things that the Scottish Government could and should be doing to bring in more revenue to invest in our public services,” she told the BBC’s Sunday Show.

“We need to look at changing our council tax system, we should be revaluing our property and land, we should be taxing wealth more effectively.

“A very immediate thing that we would welcome the Government looking at is a higher tax banding for people earning, for instance, over £75,000 a year.

“There are many different steps that could be taken…Government needs to start looking seriously at how we take the wealth that is in our economy and redistribute it so that we have got first-class public services and that we’re paying public sector workers fairly.”

An STUC paper published earlier this year proposed a new income tax band in Scotland of 44 per cent, which would apply to incomes of between £75,000 and £125,140 per year.

It also suggested the creation of an “annual wealth tax” of 1 per cent, which could be levied on the 12 per cent of Scottish households with a total wealth of over £1m.

In May Mr Yousaf said the paper contained “excellent suggestions”, and his Programme for Government this month signalled that further tax rises could be on the way.

The Scottish Government was approached for comment.

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