Greens welcome SNP u-turn on tax powers

For immediate release 25 February 2011

The Scottish Greens today welcomed a letter from Cabinet Secretary John Swinney confirming a decision to take the first step towards restoring Holyrood's key tax power - the Scottish Variable Rate. This letter follows a decision in 2010 by SNP Ministers to let the power lapse without informing Parliament, a move fiercely criticised today in a report from Holyrood's Finance Committee.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"It remains almost incomprehensible that a party whose sole purpose is to obtain more powers for Scotland should have let this key tax power lapse. The will of the Scottish public, clearly expressed in the 1997 referendum, was overturned, and no-one was told. Today's report from the Finance Committee is a very useful piece of work, and one which confirms the widespread criticism of the SNP's approach.

"Scotland's public finances are under the toughest squeeze since the dawn of devolution. For the SNP to have let this power lapse now is like throwing the lifeboats overboard just as the iceberg hits. All the other parties are committed to implementing the cuts, but only Greens are ready to talk about the alternative: raising revenue and protecting public services. It's a disgrace that SNP Ministers made it impossible for the next Parliament to move quickly and make its own decisions on this issue."