I opened a Scottish Labour Party debate in the Scottish Parliament on fiance. I moved a motion in my name stating: “That the Parliament believes that income tax should be increased to allow greater investment in public services.”
The issue at the core of the debate is our public services, and how we fund them.
After 10 years of Scottish National Party Government, we have major problems and issues that must be tackled.
The Government cannot simply ignore that, nor can it legislate its way out of the challenges, when many—although not all—of the solutions require more resources to be made available.
Labour has been clear, we said that we would put a penny on the basic and higher rates of taxation and introduce an additional rate of 50p for those earning over £150,000 a year, in order to invest in public services.
It is right to consider using the tax powers of our Parliament in a progressive way to ensure that those who are able to pay a bit more do so. The SNP has voted against introducing a 50p top rate of income tax for the highest earners eight times since 2015. I say that it is no longer acceptable that the SNP Government protects the richest while cutting services for the poorest.
It is time, once again, to make the case for a tax rise—for those who can pay a bit more to do so through a progressive tax system—and to build a fairer, more just and better Scotland.