There’s nothing inevitable about cutting school budgets – Dugdale

There is nothing inevitable about austerity and cuts to school budgets, Kezia Dugdale will say today.

In a major speech at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, organised by the David Hume Institute to kick off a series of speeches from party leaders ahead of the election, the Scottish Labour leader will say that the decision by the SNP Government to cut the budget for local councils – the main providers of our schools – was a conscious choice.

Ms Dugdale will say that the new powers heading to Scotland mean government ministers can choose a different path, and that the days of claiming they are powerless to act are over.

Kezia Dugdale is expected to say:

“The new powers coming to Scotland are beginning to change how the political debate operates. Scottish politics isn’t any longer just a case of managing money and making an election offer. Behind every party manifesto at this election will be a set of choices on taxation, just as there always is in UK elections.

Ahead of the election we will set out our tax plan. Our starting point is for progressive taxation so we can invest to grow our economy and ensure more Scots share in our national success. The hard truth of politics – that change doesn’t come for free – has arrived in Scotland. So who will pay?

We have already set out three different choices which we would make. Different from the Conservatives and different from the SNP. And we have been clear about why we are making those changes.

First, I’ve already set out the different choice on Air Passenger Duty in order to help support young people to buy their own home. Second, we have also set out how we would not follow George Osborne’s plans to raise the threshold for the upper rate of income tax, providing around half a billion pounds a year by the end of the Parliament to invest in the future. And third we have said we would bring back the 50p top rate of tax, paid by those earning over £150,000 a year, specifically to fund our plan to cut the gap between rich and poor children in our schools.

The impact of these changes is that we can guarantee that the tax plan we set out before the election will be significantly progressive, with those lucky enough to be doing very well being asked to pay more than the vast majority.

That is a challenge to all other parties. Political posturing is being replaced with the real policy choices of power. We can no longer pretend that the things that are happening in our country are simply inevitable or the fault of someone else.”

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3 thoughts on “There’s nothing inevitable about cutting school budgets – Dugdale

  1. The School budget’s issue became really problematic in 2008.
    Operating on good faith the SNP government agreed with Labour controlled COSLA’s demand that the ring-fencing of education budgets be removed to improve flexibility.
    The SNP agreed to this on the proviso that frontline budgets and teaching staff levels would be maintained…

    All COSLA councils immediately reneged on this promise and year on year have cut staffing and budgets…and spent the money on other areas such as costly and in many cases unnecessary capital projects.

    Despite the misinformation that a council tax freeze has cost councils money, and independent report has shown the SNP government has reimbursed these councils with more money than they could have obtained by raising council tax in-line with inflation.

    Ms Dugdale should organise her own councils, rather than expectiong the rest of us to pay more for their profligate waste

  2. But Ms Dugdale has already pledged to use the imaginary (because you can’t raise money by leaving a tax alone) to pay for improvements to education … and then to mitigate hte cuts to tax credits. How many times can she spend this imaginary money? Oh … of course … as often as she wants as it is imaginary.

    Also, what is progressive about handing already comfortably well off people (cos they already own a house) up to £6000 of tax payers money. First time buyers wont feel the benefit as it will just put the cost of housing up by about … £6000. Housing could actually become less affordable to them as their wages wont rise to cover the extra cost Ms Dugdale intends landing them with.

    Further, she has herself admitted that raising the upper level of tax to 50% may actually raise absolutely nothing in revenue as there are few who would be liable to pay it and most of them will take steps to “avoid” it. As to not raising the upper threshold … I’m not sure that will be within her power. Is it not only the basic rate that the Scottish parliament will have some power over?

    Top marks to Ms Dugdale for at least telling us what she wants to do if the world turns upside down in May and she is elected FM. Big black mark, however, for making such a pigs ear of it.

  3. How thick can a”Kezia” be ?

    If you do not change the current rate of APD their is no more money !!! plus you have already spent the magic money on education. (twice X nothing = nothing X twice)

    And if you lift the current rate of income tax for the higher earners to 50p in the pound, you also have to raise all other lower band tax payers as well, that is the current law, you know fine if you raise one band of income tax you have to raise all of them.

    Polititcal posturing is being replaced by fantasy figures.

    PS I don’t know anything threshold rates, but I’m sure someone else does.

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