SMALL business leaders have warned the Finance Secretary that any income tax rises this week would hit the economy.

Derek Mackay reveals his budget plans on Thursday and is expected to increase income tax for many to raise extra cash for public services.

The Federation of Small Business Scotland said most of its members surveyed are against such a move.

A survey found 58% wanted rates to remain unchanged while 21 wanted to see tax cuts. Only 21% backed any increases.

Two thirds said an increase in income tax would be detrimental to the economy, compared to 18% who thought it would be a boost and 17% who suggested it would have no impact.

Andy Willox, FSB Policy convenor said: “A clear majority of those that run their own business in Scotland don’t want the Finance Secretary to increase income tax rates.

“Those asked warned of the impact on the wider economy, and little wonder with pressure on household incomes and uncertainties about the impact of Brexit.”

The stance has been backed by the Tories who do not want any different tax rates in Scotland form the rest of the UK while the Greens call for an increase but protection for low paid workers.

Murdo Fraser Scottish Conservative finance spokesman, said: “There is now a serious consensus within Scotland’s business community that the SNP should not increase income tax.

“There are plenty of ways to grow Scotland’s economy and generate more cash for public services than hike taxes.”

Patrick Harvie, Greens leader said: “It is clear that there’s a growing consensus for a more progressive system of income tax”.

“Greens have led on this issue, consistently pushing the idea of a greater range of rates and bands and protection for those on lower incomes.”

Mr Mackay said: “As well as continuing to protect public services, the 2018/19 budget will prioritise economic growth and innovation to enable Scotland to grasp the opportunities presented by a rapidly changing global economy.

“Our ambition to create an economy that works for Scotland will be driven by investment in infrastructure, capital, research and in our people.”