Almost 100,000 Scots have started paying higher rates of income tax after freezes in the starting threshold, it has emerged. 

A Scottish Government analysis issued alongside the draft Scottish budget yesterday showed a third more Scots have become liable for the higher and additional rates.

In 2016/17, around 307,300 paid the higher rate, which then began at £43,000 a year, or the additional rate of 45p for those on £150,000.

However, after three freezes and one below-inflation rise in the thresholds, around 403,900 people are now forecast to pay the higher and additional rates in 2020/21.

The change is a result of “fiscal drag”, which sees people caught by higher taxes as their wages rise. Almost all those affected are people who would otherwise pay the intermediate rate of 21p, but have moved up a rung to the higher rate of 41p, which starts at £43,430 in Scotland, but is 40p in England and Wales and starts at £50,000.

Only 15,000 people in Scotland pay the additional rate of 46p.

The figures emerged after Kate Forbes became the first woman to present a Holyrood budget after the resignation of Derek Mackay. She announced there would be no change in the five income tax rates north of the Border.

However, by freezing the higher and additional rate thresholds for a second year running, she added £149 a year to the bill for 20,000 newcomers to the upper rates.

Middle earners will pay £1,500 more in Scotland than England, though the tax gap could widen after the UK budget on March 11.