Scottish Parliament has voted to back plans to raise income tax in Scotland to a higher level in the rest of the UK to fund services.
The motion was tabled by Labour, with the SNP abstaining. The debate was sparked in order to force the SNP to 'pick a side' over tax and spending. However SNP members did not vote, saying they wished to keep an 'open mind' ahead of the budget. Labour and Greens voted in favour meaning the Conservative position of keeping taxation the same as in the rest of the UK was defeated.
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said yesterday that,
"We know that, in the face of continued Westminster austerity, the consequences of Brexit and demographic change, there will be increasing pressure on our public services. That is why now is the time to enter into a debate about how we can use our income tax powers to help to protect our public services and ensure that they remain sustainable in the future," he said.
"As with all our tax powers, I am committed to developing an income tax policy that is progressive. We are committed to keeping progressivity at the heart of our income tax policy because we believe it is right that those who can afford to contribute the most continue to do so."
Scottish Labour interim leader Alex Rowley said the vote was significant saying;
“That simply is not good enough. Scotland deserves better than a government that doesn’t know whether it thinks taxes should go up or down. The SNP now must respect the will of parliament. Only Labour's tax plans can stop the cuts and protect public services."
Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser said:
“This is the clearest sign yet that the SNP is heading for a tax raid on the majority of Scotland's workers. The nationalists are lurching to the left, and the hardworking people of Scotland will pay the price.
“The Scottish Conservatives are now the only party in Scotland who stand against this tax-grabbing agenda."
Source: Holyrood 21/09/17