Scottish budget passed by 68 votes to 57
THE SNP-GREEN budget has been passed by the Scottish Parliament following a long-running conflict over taxation rates.
Voted through by 68 votes to 57, the deal confirms the financial plan for the year ahead and sets the Scottish rate of income tax following the extension of taxation powers.
The financial deal was likely to pass after the Scottish Greens pledged to back the budget after a deal on income tax thresholds with the SNP minority government.
Specifically, this will raise slightly more revenue by placing a freeze on the threshold for paying the higher rate of income tax, the level of £40,000 above which taxpayer contribute 40 per cent income tax.
Finance Minister Derek Mackay welcomed the Bill’s passing, saying: “This budget secures Scotland’s social contract with investment in public services on a massive scale, support for our economy and help for those on low incomes.
“With £900m of additional investment we are putting in place the foundations to transform and reform our public services and to deliver on our commitments over the next five years.
“This is a budget that delivers for every part of Scotland and it is one that ensures taxpayers all across the country get more for their money, than anywhere else in the UK,” he said.
The Scottish Greens had called for the government to go further on replacing the council tax and raising tax on the wealthiest – but settled for the threshold deal.
Patrick Harvie MSP, finance spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, added: :The additional £160m secured for councils to spend on local priorities such as schools and social care means the core local government settlement is flat in real terms, compared to the cut the government had proposed. When you add in the £111m from adjustments to upper bands of council tax, it’s a real terms increase.
Budget Scotland Bill passed at stage 3 in the Scottish Parliament. 68 votes to 57. pic.twitter.com/2CkRS02ApZ
— Michael Gray (@GrayInGlasgow) February 23, 2017
“Other opposition parties set their face against the entire process, refusing to find common ground. In a parliament of minorities, it’s appalling that other parties would rather posture than roll up their sleeves and help protect local services.”
However, other opposition parties criticised the budget financial package as a process that passed on Tory austerity cuts.
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale MSP said: “In the same week that the SNP refused to ask the richest few earning more than £150,000 a year to pay just a little bit more in tax, the government will team up with the Greens to impose £170m more in cuts to local services. That makes it £1.5bn of cuts since 2011.
“To make the investment that is needed we need those with the broadest shoulders to pay their fair share.”
Picture courtesy of Scottish Parliament TV
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