Our Economy and Infrastructure

Fair Taxes

Scotland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but we’ve all been let down by an unjust UK and Scottish tax system.

The current, failed approach raises inadequate funds for vital public services and to invest in our future, while simultaneously allowing the rich to avoid taxation and take our wealth offshore.

The Scottish Greens believe in well-funded public services and are committed to a taxation system that raises revenue fairly and addresses the profound economic inequalities that scar our society.

Green Impact

Scottish Green achievements in the last 5 years include:

  • Reformed income tax so that most pay less whilst the rich pay more, raising hundreds of millions of pounds for public services across Scotland
  • Secured new tax raising powers for local government
  • Prevented the SNP Government from slashing air passenger duty, protecting the climate and public services

A CITIZENS ASSEMBLY ON TAXATION

The pandemic has demonstrated more clearly than ever the systemic underfunding of our public services and the failure of our tax system to support a more equal society. At the same time it has starkly illustrated our common need for high quality, well-funded public services.

Put simply, our aspirations for services like the NHS and education, and our ambitions to tackle the climate emergency, are not compatible with our existing approach to taxation. Fundamental reform is needed. But this reform must have buy-in from the wider public.

In recent years we have seen increasing use of deliberative democracy to address difficult challenges like the climate emergency. The Scottish Greens will establish a Citizens’ Assembly to explore the future of taxation and our public services, seeking recommendations for a taxation system that fairly raises sufficient funds and helps deliver a greener economy.

FAIRER INCOME TAX

Now is not the time for increases in income tax for the majority of people in Scotland, many of whom have faced severe financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. However, there is widespread consensus that those who can contribute more, should.

In the last Parliament the Scottish Greens delivered our 2016 manifesto pledge of fairer income tax, creating new starter and intermediate tax bands and delivering a system that means most pay less whilst the wealthy pay more. We will continue to support a more progressive approach to income tax at Holyrood.

FAIR TAXES IN AN INDEPENDENT SCOTLAND

Scotland’s ability to create a fair and stable economy is limited by most tax powers still being controlled at Westminster. An independent Scotland would have the power to tax consumption of luxury goods, carbon emissions from corporations and the wealthiest in Scotland. This is just one reason we support Scottish independence and full devolution of tax powers. In the meantime, we will make formal requests to legislate in these areas.

A WINDFALL TAX ON PANDEMIC PROFIT

While many small and medium sized businesses have been hit hard and even shut down by the pandemic, some larger businesses have extracted enormous profits. For example, while many smaller retailers have suffered, supermarkets and larger online retailers have seen record takings.

The Scottish Greens are calling for an urgent one-off windfall tax on the extraordinary profits enjoyed by larger companies as a result of the pandemic, therefore rebalancing the economy and supporting the recovery in those sectors which have suffered most during lockdown.

 

SCRAP COUNCIL TAX

The council tax is regressive and woefully outdated, and it leaves councils struggling to pay for essential services. We will seek to replace it with a new residential property tax that is related to actual value rather than outdated valuations. Under our proposals most households would pay less while the wealthiest will pay a bit more.

A MILLIONAIRES TAX

With the wealthiest 10% of Scots holding almost half of the total wealth, the Scottish Greens believe that we need to proactively tackle the profound structural economic inequality that holds back the economy.

We will therefore seek to introduce a 1% annual wealth tax for millionaires. This will be a tax on all wealth and assets above the £1m threshold, including property, land, pensions, and other assets. Such a tax would only apply to the wealthiest 10% in society, with an average household in Scotland owning approximately £233k in assets.

While the ideal would be a UK or Scotland wide wealth tax, this would require UK government consent. If that is not forthcoming, as might be expected, then we will explore the possibility of empowering and supporting Scottish local authorities to introduce wealth taxes within their own areas.

INTERNATIONAL FREQUENT FLYER LEVY

As demand has grown, emissions from international aviation in Scotland have almost doubled since 1990, largely driven by leisure travel by the wealthy.

70% of all UK flights are made by the top 15%. The Scottish Greens will replace air passenger duty with a frequent flyer levy, as recommended by the Committee on Climate Change, once we emerge from the pandemic.

Every passenger in Scotland will pay nothing for their first return flight in a 12-month period, with the levy incrementally rising for each additional flight after that.

This would not apply to domestic flights linking the Highlands and Islands to the rest of the country.

Downloads

Downloads of our manifesto in PDF, Easy Read, large print, and plain text, and audio formats are available here: https://greens.scot/ourfuture/downloads

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