Taxpayers are not being deterred from moving to Scotland despite higher income tax rates, new figures from HMRC suggest.

A report shows that, in the five years from the devolution of powers over income tax in 2017/18, there was a steady increase in net migration to Scotland.

The Scottish Government was quick to welcome the research as evidence of Scotland being "an attractive place to live and work".

However, opposition parties were quick to point out the figures predate a new 45% tax band that was introduced from April 1 for people earning between £75,000 and £125,140.

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Migration to Wales, which has devolved tax powers but where tax is set at the same level as England, from the rest of the UK also increased in the same time period.

Data was collated at the request of both the Scottish and Welsh governments, looking at the tax base and migration between 2009 and 2022.

After 2017, when Scottish tax rates first began to diverge from those south of the border, net migration to Scotland steadily increased, becoming most pronounced during the pandemic years.

On average during that period, almost 4200 more taxpayers moved to Scotland than left each year.

The same pattern emerged for Wales, where income tax rates did not change.

Making clear that there was no way to "draw definitive conclusions about whether migration trends were affected by tax", the HMRC report said: "Beyond year ending 2017, the first year where income tax was (partially) devolved, net migration to Scotland increased on a yearly basis, to around 8000 individuals in year ending 2022.

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"This deviation from the generally stable trend reflects decreasing numbers of taxpayers migrating from Scotland to rUK combined with an increase in migration to Scotland in year ending 2022."

Deputy First Minister Shona Robison said: "The latest figures show that across all tax bands and almost all age ranges in 2021-22, more taxpayers chose Scotland as their home than left - offering yet more proof that Scotland is an attractive place for people to live and work, while our progressive approach to income tax asks those who earn more to contribute some more.

"We know people base the decision on where to live on a range of factors, and by coming to Scotland they have access to a range of services and benefits not available elsewhere in the UK, including free tuition and prescriptions.

"Scotland has the most generous childcare package for three and four-year-olds, and council tax is lower here than in England.

"This social contract with the people of Scotland is funded in part by our progressive income tax system.

"Indeed, in 2021-22 some £200 million in taxable income was brought here as a result of inward migration in a single year, increasing economic activity while helping fund vital public services like our NHS and our efforts to tackle child poverty."

Warnings had previously been issued that higher tax rates would see an exodus of well-off Scots leaving the country for England.

BMA Scotland's chairman Iain Kennedy had said senior health staff would leave the NHS due to the increased tax burden.

The HMRC figures show that in the top rate tax bands there was a net loss of 1030 higher taxpayers from Scotland and £60.6 million of lost tax revenue.

MSPs on Holyrood's economy committee were told this week that budget airline Ryanair is struggling to recruit staff at Prestwick Airport due to higher taxes.

Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary Liz Smith MSP said: "It predates the SNP’s devastating recent tax-and-axe budget, which has been widely viewed as the tipping point in the growing tax gap between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

"Virtually every business group has identified that tax gulf as a serious disincentive, which will hold back the economic growth essential to fund public services. They were clear that the current levels, not addressed by this report, were actively impacting on Scotland’s ability to recruit and retain key workers.

"Groups like the British Medical Association, the British Dental Association and, just the other day, government-owned Prestwick Airport have also warned that it is becoming harder and harder to recruit and retain skilled workers.

"Rather than burying their heads in the sand and twisting the facts, SNP ministers need to act now, to end Scotland’s status as the highest taxed part of the UK."