21 February, 2017 - 14:59

If the rate resolution falls, then the budget falls, and councils will be forced to immediately bring cancelled cuts back onto the agenda. Patrick Harvie MSP

The Green group of MSPs in the Scottish Parliament will allow today’s Scottish Rate Resolution to pass in order to protect the unprecedented budget concession by the Scottish Government which will support local public services with an additional £160 million of funding to councils.

Green MSPs also forced the abandonment of the SNP’s proposed increase to the Higher Rate threshold, which would have resulted in a tax cut for the highest-paid 10% of earners.

Despite this modest change to SNP income tax proposals, the Greens remain critical of the status quo rates and thresholds, and continue to state that the SNP is showing “none of the ambition that’s needed”. However, failure to pass the rate resolution would also result in the Budget Bill falling, resulting in far more damaging cuts to local services. The Green MSPs will therefore abstain to allow the rate resolution to pass.

The six MSPs will continue to highlight how the SNP’s income tax proposals will have a negligible impact on inequality, raising only an additional £29 from high earners.

Patrick Harvie MSP, the Scottish Greens’ finance and economy spokesperson, said:

“The Greens are determined to protect the extra £160 million we secured for local services across Scotland, reversing many of the most damaging cuts which would have resulted from the SNP’s spending plans. If the rate resolution falls, then the budget falls, and councils will be forced to immediately bring cancelled cuts back onto the agenda.

“We will therefore not block the rate resolution from passing, though it clearly shows none of the ambition that’s needed. It’s dismaying that the SNP has failed to take more serious steps in the direction of fairer taxes and we remain convinced that the point of devolving these powers is to allow better choices to be made in Scotland.

“While the Tories react with outrage at the refusal to offer tax giveaways to the wealthiest, and Labour threaten to block the budget because it isn’t perfect, the Green approach has made a meaningful difference by preventing cuts and saving jobs in our vital public services. If other parties had taken this constructive attitude in the budget debates, even more could have been achieved.”

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