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Pay and benefits: key differences in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Updating authors: Vince Ashall, Kate Upcraft and Nicky Stibbs, consultant editor (Scotland): Gillian MacLellan, consultant editor (Northern Ireland): Andrew Spratt

Future developments

Student loans (Scotland): The Scottish Government announced on 9 June 2018 that it will raise the student loan repayment threshold to £25,000, from April 2021. (This increase exceeds that announced in the Scottish Government's Draft Budget 2018/19, in which it said that it would raise the threshold to £22,000 by the end of the current parliamentary session.)

Court orders (Scotland): The Diligence against Earnings (Variation) (Scotland) Regulations 2018 (SSI 2018/345) come into force on 6 April 2019. The daily, weekly and monthly tables that employers must use to determine the amount of earnings arrestments payable, are revised from that date. The daily protected earnings figure for maintenance arrestments will increase from £16.24 to £17.42.

Income tax 2019/20 (Scotland): In the Scottish Budget on 12 December 2018, the Scottish Government announced proposed income tax rates and bands for 2019/20 as follows:

Earnings band Band name Rate of tax
Over £12,500-£14,549 Starter 19%
Over £14,549-£24,944 Basic 20%
Over £24,944-£43,430 Intermediate 21%
Over £43,430-£150,000 Higher 41%
Over £150,000 Top 46%

The rates of tax are unchanged from 2018/19.

Scottish taxpayers and Welsh rates of income tax: In anticipation of the introduction of Welsh rates of income tax in 2019/20 (see Pay and benefits > Pay As You Earn > Future developments), provisions in s.11 of the Wales Act 2014, which came into force on 24 July 2018, amend the definition of a Scottish taxpayer so that an individual cannot be a Welsh taxpayer and a Scottish taxpayer in the same tax year.

Itemised pay statements and statements of fixed deductions (Northern Ireland): In England, Wales and Scotland, the right to itemised pay statements and statements of fixed deductions will extend to workers from 6 April 2019. Where a member of staff's pay varies according to time worked, the employer will have to include on pay statements the total number of hours worked for which he or she receives variable pay. (See Pay and benefits > Itemised pay statements and statements of fixed deductions > Future developments for more details.) However, corresponding provisions have not been made for Northern Ireland.