SNP and Labour are failing people in fightback from 14 years of Tory austerity

The Scottish Greens will build a fairer, greener economy for people and planet.

The Scottish Greens have challenged the SNP First Minister to admit that the most effective way to reverse more than a decade of cuts imposed on Scotland by 14 years of Tory austerity is to back their plan to tax the super-rich.

Pointing out that Scotland only moved ahead on progressive income tax after pressure from Greens, Co-leader Patrick Harvie called on John Swinney to raise billions of pounds through Scottish Green plans for a new wealth tax.

That, he said, would build on changes introduced when Scottish Greens were in government which are already delivering an extra £1.5bn to Scotland’s finances.

Mr Harvie also warned that an incoming UK Labour Government which has attracted the support of Tory billionaire John Cauldwell and reportedly the controversial INEOS owner, Monaco-based Jim Ratcliffe, signalled they too had abandoned their core values and become the party of the billionaires.

During First Minister’s Questions today, Mr Harvie said: “This week the First Minister tried to present the SNP as the only party committed to ending the cuts and reversing austerity.

“But apart from changes to income tax, which have already been done in Scotland thanks to pressure from the Greens, the only actual change he proposed was to devolve taxes, not increase them.

“Scotland should have control over oil and gas windfall taxes, other corporate taxes, national insurance, fuel duty, or VAT, but only if we actually use those powers to raise revenue, and the only change the First Minister proposed was actually a VAT cut.

“Does he agree with the Greens, that reversing the cuts and providing the investment the country so badly needs can only be done by raising revenue from those super-rich who are hoarding the country’s wealth?”

The First Minister tried to say that they had taken a range of positions on tax but failed to offer any assurances on funding.

Mr Harvie added: “The First Minister has presented no plans for a wealth tax; but the Scottish Greens worked out the details on progressive income tax for Scotland, so the First Minister is relying on our ideas to do the work once again and supports our wealth tax on the richest 1% which would raise at least £70 billion.

“But the real problem of course is that whoever forms the next UK Government, they are committed to Tory fiscal rules, and refuse to rejoin the EU, cutting off both sources of extra revenue that he’s relying on.

“So when the new Labour chancellor inevitably imposes more austerity, to keep their new billionaire backers happy, what will the First Minister do with the taxes he does control - will he go further to raise the funds we need to stop more cuts in Scotland, and will he finally scrap the broken council tax system, to let councils raise revenue they need to protect their services?”

Mr Swinney responded that it was a matter of “fiscal choices”.