History was made in the Scottish Parliament by setting income tax rates and bands for the first time. I believe that politicians should not take that lightly because there is a great responsibility on each of us when we are making decisions that have significant impacts on the people of our country.
In Scotland we must address the rising levels of inequality by investing in our greatest asset – the people of Scotland. It is essential that we equip everyone the knowledge and skills to get a job.
It is clear that we cannot achieve this by cutting vital public services such as education and training.
We also must invest in social care. Community Care was never care on the cheap but sadly the failure to invest means people who need care cannot get it.
At a time when we need investment in our economy and in our people—our country’s greatest asset—I suggest that asking the top 1 per cent of earners in the country to pay a 50p top rate of taxation is not unreasonable. Everyone would benefit and society as a whole would benefit from the return on that investment.
Crucially, this is a fair, just and the right thing to do at a time when we have a massive skills gap in our economy, an unacceptable gap in levels of educational attainment between the poorest and the richest people, and growing inequalities in health up and down our country.