The government's Financial Strategy gives no clarity at all about the future of local government, and Greens have already warned that we can no longer view funding for council services as an annual rear-guard action.Patrick Harvie MSP
Investment in the jobs of the future and devolution of tax powers to local level are ever more vital, according to Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie MSP.
The party's finance and economy spokesperson was responding to Finance Secretary Derek Mackay's inaugural statement on the government's medium-term financial strategy, and the latest forecasts from the Scottish Fiscal Commission which warn of low wage growth in the coming years.
Patrick Harvie MSP said:
"It's clear that our public services are stretched, impacting on those who deliver them and those who rely on them, and we also see too many workers across the economy in poorly-paid, insecure jobs. We need greater investment in the well-paid, lasting jobs of the future - jobs in low-carbon sectors such as renewables, oil and gas decommissioning and housing upgrades.
"UK austerity has had a terrible impact on Scottish public finances but the Scottish Government has chosen to bind the hands of local government when it could devolve tax powers to help our councils protect services and jobs. Just a few weeks ago, SNP MSPs sided with the Conservatives to reject the Greens' call to scrap the unfair and outdated Council Tax.
"The government's Financial Strategy gives no clarity at all about the future of local government, and Greens have already warned that we can no longer view funding for council services as an annual rear-guard action. Whether it's a replacement for Council Tax, ideas such as a Visitor Levy or further reform of income tax, we need firmer plans from the Scottish Government if we want to protect local services."