Today the Scottish Greens published proposals for fairer funding for public services. We will replace the discredited Council Tax with a progressive property tax, and use new devolved powers to cut income tax for lower earners while ensuring higher earners pay a fairer share.
Here's everything you need to know:
1. Low and middle earners will pay less Income Tax
New powers to vary the rates and bands of income tax mean Scotland can make income tax significantly more progressive. Everyone earning less than £26,500 per year would pay less.
* Median income in Scotland in 2013/14 was £24,000
2. Those who can pay more (like MSPs) will pay more
We agree with Nicola Sturgeon that the low-paid should not bear the burden of Tory austerity but we also believe that those on very high incomes (£150,000 or more) can afford to pay more tax and under Scottish Greens’ proposals they do.
3. Green plans raise revenue through updated income tax bands - without complicated rebates.
The Scottish Greens' plan protects those on lower incomes by re-introducing a lower rate of income tax similar to the one Labour scrapped in 2008. This ensures fairness without the need for any complicated rebates.
These updated bands would raise at least an additional £331million to invest in public services.
4. Replace a council tax whose valuations are older than Diet Irn-Bru
Everyone agrees: the Council Tax is outdated and unfair. The Scottish Greens will abolish it and phase in a Residential Property Tax (RPT) based on the up-to-date value of a property.
* Council Tax bands based on April 1991 valuations. Diet Irn Bru introduced in Summer 1991.
5. It will reduce inequality by 4x current Scottish Government plans
The global measurement of inequality is called GINI. A higher GINI rating means your country has greater inequality between its richest and poorest citizens. The Scottish Greens’ plan will reduce Scotland’s inequality rating by 4x the Scottish Government’s proposals.
* The Scottish Government proposal: -0.1%, Scottish Greens’ proposal: -0.5%
6. It's a credible alternative to Tory austerity.
It isn’t good enough to say Scotland won’t implement Osborne’s tax giveaway to the richest. Scotland can be better. Current cuts will hit the poorest hardest and only by raising money fairly can we protect the public services we all need.
7. This is just the beginning of transformative change to make Scotland fairer.
These plans are just the start of making Scotland the more equal country we know it can be. In the long term the Scottish Greens support radical reform of taxation via Land Value Tax and working towards establishing a Citizens Income. These are the bold ideas that Scotland needs. And for a bolder Holyrood, we need more Green MSPs.