Scottish Labour will today set out a bold plan to avoid SNP cuts to local budgets and our children’s education, and invest in the future.
In her most significant intervention to date as Scottish Labour Leader, Kezia Dugdale will say the SNP government should use the new powers available to Holyrood today to set an 11p Scottish rate of income tax in the budget for 2016/17 – 1p higher than that proposed by George Osborne and John Swinney.
The draft budget set out by the SNP government for the next year proposes cuts of hundreds of millions of pounds to the funding for local councils, which will have devastating consequences for education and local public services.
Independent expert analysis confirms Scottish Labour’s proposal will raise almost half a billion pounds every year. This will raise the resources needed to avoid the SNP’s planned cuts to education and other vital local public services.
Significantly, it will also allow something to be given back to low income workers.
Under Scottish Labour’s plan to invest in the future, taxpayers earning less than £20,000 will receive a £100 annual boost to their income, through a payment scheme administered by local authorities.
This will mean 810,000 workers in Scotland will not lose a single penny, and workers on the National Minimum Wage will be £81 better off. In total one in five Scottish workers will be better off under Scottish Labour’s plan.
Meanwhile someone on a salary of around £30,000 a year will pay approximately £4 a week extra, and someone on the same £144,687 wage as the First Minister will pay an extra £28 a week (£1,447 a year).
Kezia Dugdale is expected to say:
“Given the choice between using our powers or making cuts to our children’s future, we choose to use our powers.
We will tear up this SNP budget that simply manages Tory cuts and instead use the power we have to set the Scottish rate of income tax one pence higher than the rate set by George Osborne. This will provide an extra half a billion pounds a year to invest in the future.
We don’t do this because we want to use the powers for their own sake. We do it because there is no other alternative to cutting into our nation’s future.”