0

Green pressure in recent years resulted in the new, fairer system of rates and bands which means lower earners get a break and higher earners pay a more appropriate share. It has brought an additional £500million into our public services. It's a modest start and Greens will seek to build on it. Patrick Harvie MSP

Ahead of tonight’s vote in parliament to agree the Scottish rates and bands of Income Tax, Scottish Green MSPs are setting out their stance, warning the government that it cannot afford to stall on action to reduce inequality and protect public services.

The budget deal negotiated by the Greens last month has made hundreds of millions of pounds available to local councils to spend as they see fit, takes steps toward the replacement of the unfair and outdated Council Tax, and empowers local government by devolving control over fiscal powers such as a tourist tax or workplace parking levy. The budget cannot proceed until Parliament passes a Rate Resolution.

In his letter last month to Finance Secretary Derek Mackay confirming Green support for an amended budget, Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie MSP wrote:

“We continue to argue that modest changes to national taxation policy would have made the task of protecting public services easier, and could have been done in a way which would have been quite consistent with the policies adopted last year and the objectives of increasing revenue and reducing inequality. We remain of the view that you have far more capacity to build on the taxation policy adopted last year, and we will therefore abstain on the Scottish Rate Resolution.”

Ahead of today’s Scottish Rate Resolution vote, Patrick Harvie said:

“MSPs on all sides should be straining every sinew to protect public services and tackle inequality but sadly we have three other opposition parties who’d rather posture than engage constructively, and we have a government reluctant to anger right-wing voices by going further on Income Tax. That’s a misjudgement; we shouldn’t be letting policy on income tax be influenced by the kind of people who are currently losing their grip over car parking.

“Green pressure in recent years resulted in the new, fairer system of rates and bands which means lower earners get a break and higher earners pay a more appropriate share. It has brought an additional £500million into our public services. It’s a modest start and Greens will seek to build on it.

“We will allow the rate resolution to pass tonight so that the budget deal to protect local services can proceed to the final budget vote. The fairer tax system we helped shape will continue to generate additional funds for public services, but it’s still regrettable that the Government didn’t take the opportunity to build on the progress to date.”