Belfast Telegraph

Scottish political leaders voluntarily publish their tax returns

By Laura Paterson, Press Association Scotland

The leaders of four of Scotland's political parties have published their tax returns in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal.

Prime Minister David Cameron published a summary of his taxes after criticism about shares he held in an offshore fund set up by his father Ian, revealed in the Panama Papers leak.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale and her conservative counterpart Ruth Davidson made their tax returns public on Saturday.

Ms Dugdale said she was making the financial information public as a result of the Panama Papers scandal and called on the other party leaders to do the same.

Nicola Sturgeon published her tax return on Sunday, as did Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, and she pledged to do the same each year she remains First Minister.

Ms Sturgeon's return for 2014-15 revealed she had a total income of £104,817 and was charged £32,517 in income tax.

An SNP spokesman said: "The First Minister's only income is the salary she receives as an MSP and First Minister.

"Nicola Sturgeon pays tax on her full salary entitlement but only draws her salary at its 2008/09 level - the balance is automatically paid to the Scottish Government for use in general public spending.

"As a result, in 2014/15 the First Minister paid around £3,000 into the Scottish Government consolidated fund."

Mr Rennie's papers for the same year show his income was £52,283 and he was charged £10,480.20 in income tax.

Making his financial details public, Mr Rennie said: "Compared with certain other party leaders my tax returns are rather dull but here they are anyway."

Ms Dugdale's documents show she had an income of £57,465 in 2014-15 and was charged £11,250.40 tax. A total of £5,242 was classified as "profit from self employment" through her newspaper columns although the cash goes directly to charity MND Scotland.

A Labour spokesman said: "The Panama papers showed that the rich elite are playing by different rules from the rest of us.

"Following the shocking revelation that the Prime Minister has benefited from money hidden away in tax havens, it's more important than ever for all political leaders to be transparent about their finances."

Ms Davidson's tax return revealed she earned £52,223 in 2014-15 and paid £10,513 in tax.

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