So after weeks of the SNP promising they would reveal their plans for using the newly acquired powers to raise or lower income tax, I’m not sure the result today was worth getting out of bed for.
I’m glad Nicola has confirmed that Scotland won’t follow George Osborne’s sneaky tax cut for higher earners that would increase the tax threshold for the 40p tax rate. So now with Liberal Democrats, Labour and the SNP all agreeing on this, it is only Ruth Davidson and the Tories who seem to support rewarding the better off.
But the SNP again failed to live up to their claims to be a progressive party by refusing to use the new powers to increase income tax to raise the money to make Scotland the best again. In fact, in guaranteeing not to increase anybody’s tax bill, they are far closer to the Tories than they like to pretend. Today’s announcement by the SNP is a feeble response to the pressing need for more investment that our public services need. In fact, I find it quite odd that the SNP are so dead set against using the new powers they have always demanded. Anyone would think they are scared to use them in case more people realise we don’t need independence to transform Scotland into a better place…
Where is the bravery and boldness that you need in a government? While the SNP fiddle at the margins, the Scottish Liberal Democrats have made distinct political choices to make our country the best again.
I’ve been so proud to promote our plan to put 1p on income tax to pay for the transformation of education in Scotland. Income tax is the most progressive tax and it really frustrates me that the SNP won’t use it. They seem to prefer to blame Westminster for everything, but won’t lift a finger to use the new powers to make a difference.
I’ve been so pleased at the reaction to our education plans on doorsteps from Paisley to Helensburgh, Giffnock to Milngavie. The public are not daft. They tell me about the lack of college places, the endless fundraising they do to pay for school textbooks, the juggling of childcare. Our 1p on income tax will put £475 into massively increasing pre school childcare, introduce a Scottish Pupil Premium to help close the attainment gap, expand the number of college places and reverse the SNP’s £500 million cuts to council budgets. And best of all, NOBODY earning under £19,000 will be worse off (thanks to the tax threshold increase in April). So the poor pay no extra, while those who are better off are asked to pay a wee bit more to help our society provide better education for all. What’s not to like…?