One of Scotland’s most successful businessmen is backing Labour at Thursday's general election saying the party should be given a chance to return to power.

Sir Tom Hunter, the entrepreneur and philanthropist, said in an interview today he had already voted by a postal vote and went on to criticise both the Conservatives and the SNP over what he said were their "absolutely atrocious" records in government since 2010 and 2007 respectively.

"My postal vote, is it? And I have voted," he told BBC Scotland's Sunday Show.

"I was reflecting beyond the week, and seven short days ago, Scotland were still in the euros, and we had hope. We had hope we're going to make history. 

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"But alas, it's not what and I don't think there's much hope run about this election campaign either. I see it as a very negative thing, where people are voting for what they don't want. 

"People want the Tories out so they vote for someone else. Where is the hope? Where does the leadership? Where does the inspiring leaders who can say that's something I could vote for? 

"And I think the two big parties here with the track record have got nobody to blame but themselves. The track record for the Tories and the SNP is absolutely atrocious. 

"Who would have thought that the UK Tory party could have brought in Boris Jones as a leader? Who would have thought it could get any worse, and it did with Liz Truss? 

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"So I believe the Tories are going to get a good old kicking in the polls, but and you're going to ask our First Minister in a couple of minutes, where is the inspirational policies for Scotland?

"And when these politicians come out with their manifestos, why doesn't somebody just say you've been in power for 14 years or 17 years. In the case of the SNP, why did you not do the things you're now saying you're going to do? So I think we've got to give Labour a chance, and then we'll judge them on their actions, not their wants. I'm looking for hope and inspiration." 

Sir Tom has previously attacked the Scottish Government over its income tax policies under which anyone earning above £28,867 pays more tax than if they lived elsewhere in the UK.

First Minister John Swinney today defended Scotland's higher income tax rates for people earning more than £28,867 saying the policy enables the Scottish Government to raise more revenue for public services, including free university tuition for Scottish students and free bus travel for under 22s.

The Scottish five band income tax system compares with three bands south of the border. A number of sectors, including technology, financial services and hospitality, have suggested the widening divergence is making it harder to attract staff and compete on a global scale.

Sir Tom is the country’s first home-grown billionaire, whose interests span property, e-commerce, technology and hospitality, and believes lowering the income tax rates in Scotland would actually be more likely to increase the government’s overall tax take.

The entrepreneur suggested in April that making it more financially attractive for skilled workers to be based north of the border would help to lift the working age population. As a result there would be a larger pool of people who would be liable to pay income tax.

Speaking earlier on Sky News, Mr Swinney defended his government's income tax policies.

"We took a decision to increase tax on higher earners so we could invest more in our National Health Service," he said.

He was pressed by presenter Trevor Phillips if some earning more than £28,850 a year - for instance a junior teacher, nurse or police officer, should count as a higher earner.

Mr Swinney said nurses, junior police officers and teachers are paid significantly more in Scotland because of the pay deals that have been negotiated to make sure they have higher salaries than people working in these jobs in England.

He added they also had more access to free child care.

And continued: "Their children who go to university will not pay tuition fees. They will have access to free personal care for their elderly relatives.

"Young people under 22 will have free bus travel. So yes, people will be paying on higher earnings slightly more in taxation in Scotland than in England, but they will get a substantial number of greater services that are provided by the Scottish Government that better meet their needs than in other parts of the United Kingdom."