SNP tax decisions aggravates Christie's 16 year squeeze

For immediate release 29 June 2011

Today's report by the Christie Commission confirms the dire state of the Scottish public finances, with a prediction that real-terms spending on Scotland's public services will be below 2010 levels for 16 years. Although Greens will support some of the measures proposed, the pressures identified by the Commission are aggravated by the SNP's continuing determination to prioritise low taxes, not public services, the party today argued.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"The commission's report emphasises that future reforms to public services should be designed to reduce inequality, which we of course welcome. However, existing preventative spending, like health promotion, will be undermined by the cuts to housing and energy efficiency budgets which SNP Ministers have already begun to make. Cuts, driven ideologically from Westminster, must not be used as a pretext for handing control of public services to the private sector, or simply cutting the local services which people depend on.

"The report recommends better use of "all available resources", including from "the public, private and third sectors, individuals, groups and communities", another aim we would support. But for this to be meaningful, Ministers will need to bring in more tax revenue from the wealthy and big business. As a start, SNP Ministers should come back with new proposals for a large retailer levy, and abandon their plans for a corporation tax cut. What Scotland really needs if we are to respond to these cuts without worsening inequality would be fairer business taxes, designed to protect small businesses while taxing big corporations and multinationals according to their profits."