Nicola Sturgeon has repeatedly refused to rule out higher tax bills in next week’s budget, saying only that Scots would get a “fair deal”.

The First Minister was pressed on income tax, council tax and business rates at Holyrood, as opposition parties looked ahead to Wednesday’s draft tax and spending plans.

She defended her government’s record after Finance Secretary Derek Mackay confirmed this week that middle-class Scotland would not get the some tax break as England in April.

Derek Mackay said he would not copy the Chancellor’s decision to raise the threshold for the higher rate of income tax to £50,000.

The threshold is currently £43,430 in Scotland, and even a rise in line with inflation would see high-earning Scots paying £1100 more next year than their English counterparts.

At First Minister’s Questions, acting Tory leader Jackson Carlaw predicted the Scottish Greens would demand higher taxes in return for supporting the 2019/20 budget.

The party, which has supported the last two SNP budgets, says it will not enter budget talks without “meaningful progress” on overhauling council tax and beefing up local tax powers.

It is understood the SNP and Greens have discussed raising the 3% cap on council tax rises next year in preliminary skirmishes.

Several Scottish councils are also pressing Mr Mackay for a new cap of 3% plus inflation.

Ms Sturgeon observed 3% was “much lower than the maximum allowable increases in England under the Conservative government”, referring to a cap there of 5.99%.

However raising the cap would mean the SNP breaking a manifesto pledge, and the move on its own would not be enough to impress the Greens, especially if it only offset cuts.

Mr Carlaw claimed a “brand new tax on householders across Scotland” was looming and called on Ms Sturgeon to rule out a “new tax on homes of hard-pressed ordinary Scots”.

He said: “The First Minister’s budget is now going up. She has the money to spend. The fact is no further tax rises are necessary.

“Isn’t the right choice this year to commit to no further increases on Scottish taxpayers?”

But Ms Sturgeon refused to do so, saying the budget would show “not just businesses but taxpayers across Scotland will continue to get a fair deal from the Scottish Government”.

She said if the Tories had their way, and shadowed the Chancellor’s tax cuts, there would be £550m less for public services.

Mr Carlaw also criticised the First Minister over business rates, saying they were “crippling” some firms, and accused her of “crass indifference” to closures.

He called for the Scottish Government to use the £42m it will receive from the UK Government’s decision to cut business rates to benefit small firms across Scotland.

He raised a warning by the Glasgow Action Group, which is made up of key figures in the city’s hospitality sector, warning rate hikes could cost 20,000 jobs countrywide.

The group yesterday wrote to Mr Mackay asking for a rates freeze and an overhaul of a “punitive, outdated system” that calculates bills based on hospitality turnover not profit.

Mr Carlaw also cited the Capercaillie B&B and restaurant in Killin which employs 16 people, whose business rates are set to rise from £333 to £1750 a month.

He said it was now up for sale “because of that devastating rise in rates”.

Ms Sturgeon said rate revaluations were carried out independently by local boards.

She said: “We have placed caps on increases for business in the hospitality industry, which was widely welcomed. I am sure that the finance secretary will have something to say about that when he sets out his budget next week.”

The SNP pointed out the Capercaillie is being marketed as “a sound business proposition” with a steady turnover of around £400,000 and “strong adjusted net profits”.

The owners say they decided to sell “to pursue new challenges”, not because of rates.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard also raised the budget at FMQs, calling for more investment in schools, as he revealed there has been a 7% fall in specialist additional support needs (ASN) teachers since 2014, but a 32% increase in pupils requiring their help.

He cited the case of 13-year-old Callum whose mother felt the lack of a specialist teacher and poor decisions by his school were exacerbating his low performance autism problems.

Mr Leonard said: “Callum is only 13 once, so we need to get this right. The budget presented to Parliament next week must guarantee no more cuts to schools, no more cuts to teachers and no more cuts to additional support for pupils. Will the First Minister give that guarantee?”

Ms Sturgeon said teachers numbers were increasing overall, with councils also putting more money into ASN, which rose 2.3% to £610 in 2016/17.

Green Andy Wightman said he wanted progress on local tax reform: “SNP Ministers know they need to indicate willingness on this agenda before they publish their budget on 12 December, otherwise we cannot enter into discussions.

“Local services, from schools and social care to leisure centres and libraries, are under severe pressure as SNP Ministers keep a stranglehold on funding.

“In other European countries it’s normal for cities and regions to raise the bulk of the funds they need locally, in a fair and accountable way.

“It’s not too late for ministers to move in the right direction.”