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Majority of MSPs favours tax rises to fund extra public spending

written by Bella Palmer
tax rises

Labour, Green and Lib Dem MSPs have voted in favour of tax rises to fund extra spending on public services like the NHS and schools

Labour, Green and Lib Dem MSPs have favoured taxation changes in this year’s budget. They have voted in favour of imposing higher taxes to fund public services like the NHS and schools. SNP abstained from the voting, while Conservatives voted against the move which saw a majority decision in to higher taxes. The plan to make changes in taxation was confirmed by the Finance Secretary Derek Mackay who will publish a discussion paper on income tax ahead of the 2018/19 draft budget in December.

He said:

“My intention is that the discussion paper will enable debate for this coming budget.

“We have always been clear we do not and will not support the UK Government’s toxic approach of tax breaks for the rich paid for by cuts to vital services.

“We have similarly been clear that we will not simply pass the burden of austerity on to society’s poorest members.”

Scottish Labour interim leader Alex Rowley welcomed the step. He termed it as a “significant moment”.

He said:

“If we are to protect public services we need to be willing to increase taxation – when push came to shove SNP politicians sat on their hands.

“The SNP now must respect the will of parliament. Only Labour’s tax plans can stop the cuts and protect public services.”

Scottish Greens finance spokesman and co-leader Patrick Harvie favoured the increase in taxes but said that his party will help lower earners keep more of their pay.

He said:

Tonight’s vote shows there is a majority view that we need to raise more funds fairly, from those who can afford to pay, to protect public services such as schools, health and social care.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP said:

“By abstaining in the parliamentary vote the SNP have accepted that taxes should rise. The job now is to decide exactly what that tax package should be.

“Taxation is a force for good that has the ability to help change people’s lives and the Scottish Parliament must come together to deliver change.”

But Scottish Conservative north-east MSP Bill Bowman, said workers “cannot afford” a tax rise.

He said:

“On these benches, we don’t believe in saddling hard working Scots with ever more taxation.

“What we should be doing is working to boost the economy and grow the tax base to generate bigger tax receipts for longer.

“Scotland’s workers can’t afford a parliament seeking to pick their pockets.

“Increasingly, people recognise that it is only the Scottish Conservatives who offer a genuine alternative to the high tax agenda put forward by the other parties.”

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