Harvie restates budget priorities of fairer taxes and protection of public services ahead of this afternoon's statement

Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-Convenor of the Scottish Greens, today (14 Dec) restated his party's budget priorities of fairer taxes and protection of public services, ahead of this afternoon's statement from the Finance Secretary.

In recent months Green MSPs have made the case for:
* Progressive changes to income tax – by increasing the number of rates and bands, revenue can be raised while low earners are protected
* Protection of public services including at local level – following last year’s concession preventing £160m of local cuts, the Government must begin to reverse the cuts made in previous years
* A fair public sector pay settlement which takes account of rising inflation – following pressure from the Greens, both SNP and Labour MSPs have backed this call
* Investment in low-carbon infrastructure such as energy efficient housing and sustainable transport – progress must be made toward a long term goal of committing 70% of capital spend to low carbon projects

Patrick Harvie, Finance spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Glasgow, said:

“Greens have already won a fundamental argument on income tax ahead of today's draft budget. Our proposals for a fairer system of rates and bands have shifted the debate, and those still talking about putting a penny on the basic rate, which would hit lower earners, are being left behind.

"On boosting public sector pay, Labour's last leader in Scotland says any progress will be down to the Greens' hard work. I am hopeful that we have made the case for a real-terms rise for hard-pressed nurses, teachers and others who deliver vital services.

"And I again say to the Finance Secretary that he needs to start repairing the damage to local council services caused by successive years of cuts from his government. Last year's intervention by the Green MSPs cancelled the SNP's proposed £160m of council cuts but we warned that we expected them to go further in future. Today's statement will demonstrate whether the Scottish Government is serious about protecting the schools, social care and community facilities we all rely on."