This Scottish election is the most important since the Scottish Parliament was set up by the Labour government in 1999. Since then, the SNP have made their argument all about the constitution. They said that if we had the powers we could do things differently.
Well, they have the powers now. Scotland is the most powerful devolved parliament in the world. We have the ability now to do things so differently that only the most timid politician would leave things as they are.
But that’s exactly what Nicola Sturgeon plans to do. When she knows she doesn’t have to deliver on her words, her promises are bold. She stood on those TV debate stages last year and claimed to be the champion of the poor and Scotland’s anti-austerity champion.
This year, when she’s being judged on her own abysmal record and knows she’ll have to deliver in the next parliament her promises are weak at best, Tory at worst. Trade unionists say they haven’t seen a more Thatcherite agenda since, well, Thatcher. It’s sheer hypocrisy.
That’s the difference between Labour and the SNP. Labour’s tax plan means the end of austerity. Labour’s tax plan means £833,000 for the poorest children in Moray’s primary schools. Labour’s tax plan means no more cuts while the SNP’s tax plan means £3 billion worth of cuts. Far from defending Scotland from Tory austerity, the SNP have turned our parliament into a conveyor belt for it – and they want to keep it the conveyor belt running.
New analysis shows that Labour will spend £3 billion more than the SNP in real terms to stop the cuts through to the next UK General Election. This analysis takes into account the SNP and Labour income tax proposals, plus non-domestic rates growth and maximum capital borrowing under the Labour plan.
£3 billion. That’s what Labour will raise. All from using the powers Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney are too afraid to use because they have their eye on another referendum. The SNP refuse to tax the richest to protect the rest because they want to ensure the rich are on side come IndyRef 2. If they refuse to make the richest pay more, they need to tell the people of Moray where the axe will fall. We really can’t take anymore cuts.
Now, Nicola Sturgeon is saying her tax plan will raise a billion more in income tax but that nobody’s income tax will go up a penny. I mean, come off it. I know there are a lot of die-hard believers out there but does any SNP supporter truly believe you can raise more taxes by taxing nobody more? Over 70% of their own voters believe our tax plan is fairer! That’s because the SNP sums just don’t add up.
So here’s our promise to Moray. A Labour Scottish Government will make an anti-austerity pledge – a guarantee that spending on public services will rise – not be slashed. We can make that promise to you because we are being honest about where the money comes from. Yes, the vast majority of people will be roughly £100 better of under Scottish Labour – but those who can afford to will pay more.
Nicola Sturgeon refuses to use the new tax powers to stop the cuts and protect public services and she’s using increasingly desperate excuses for not asking the richest 1% to pay more. She is on the wrong side of this. She’s standing on the side of the wealthy few who are doing everything they can to avoid paying the taxes they already owe, while Labour is standing on the side of the many in Moray.
The divide between a progressive Labour party and a timid Scottish National Party couldn’t be clearer. Faced with a choice between using the powers of the Parliament to invest in the future or carrying on with the SNP’s cuts, Labour will use the powers. We’ll end austerity in Moray.
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All four Moray candidates in the 2016 Parliamentary Election plus the Moray Greens have been invited to submit their views on one day each week until Friday, April 29 – they will then be invited to sum-up their cases on Sunday, May 1 in a final address on insideMoray before the election.