First minister mocked over claim world leaders ‘lining up’ for advice from Scottish government


Scotland’s first minister has been mocked over a “bold claim” world leaders have been “lining up” to seek advice from the Scottish government.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross ridiculed a statement made by transport, net zero and just transition secretary Mairi McAllan in the chamber last week.

She said world leaders have been approaching the SNP administration for “advice on how we have managed to lead the way so successfully on a number of fronts”.

With their names remaining a mystery, Mr Ross teased Humza Yousaf during First Minister’s Questions on Thursday.

Highlighting a number of scandals surrounding the SNP, he said: “Has Justin Trudeau been on the phone looking for a camper van?

“Maybe it’s Emmanuel Macron calling the health secretary to hear how to stream the Celtic match from Morocco?

“Maybe, maybe it’s Joe Biden asking for advice how to deal with a disastrous predecessor at the heart of a criminal investigation?

“I don’t know, it could have been any of those things.”

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross during First Minster's Questions (FMQ's) at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh. Picture date: Thursday June 22, 2023.
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross during FMQs earlier this year

Mr Ross said the world leaders would not have been asking the SNP “how to build ferries or how to run an education system“.

He added: “And they definitely won’t have been asking Humza Yousaf for economic advice because he’s making hard-working Scots pick up the bill for his mistakes.”

Mr Ross had been questioning the first minister over the Scottish budget announced earlier this week.

Read more:
Scottish budget: All the major announcements

A new tax threshold has been created for high earners, with those earning more than £75,000 to pay a rate of 45%.

Scotland already had the highest tax band in the UK at 47% for people earning more than £125,000.

This will also rise by 1% next year to 48%.

Those earning £100,000 or more in Scotland will pay £3,346 more than others in the UK, and anyone who makes in excess of £28,850 will also pay higher taxes than workers elsewhere.

Mr Ross highlighted concerns raised by Dr Iain Kennedy, chairman of the British Medical Association Scotland, that the tax hikes could inadvertently lead to key workers leaving the NHS.

Mr Yousaf refuted the claim there will be a “mass exodus” from Scotland as the statistics “simply don’t bear that out”.

Defending the budget, Mr Yousaf said the majority of those in Scotland will pay less tax compared to those in the rest of the UK.

Scotland’s tax system will also create more money for NHS staff, child care, education, police officers, and the fire service, he added.

Mr Yousaf said under the Tories, Scots got a Brexit they “didn’t vote for” and a “Westminster cost of living crisis that’s harming millions of households across Scotland”.

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