Tax reform tops list of Scottish Green priorities for the next parliament
THE SCOTTISH GREENS will push for a more ambitious approach to tax from the expected SNP-led government after the Scottish election.
Launching the party’s full manifesto in Edinburgh today [Tuesday 12 April] lead party candidates agreed that its tax proposals would be their number one ‘Green line’ in the event of any hung parliament negotiations.
The Greens, hopeful of winning an MSP in each of Scotland’s eight regions, aim to drag the SNP to the left through its pitch that “a better Scotland needs a bolder Holyrood”.
“Tax has to be the number one priority.” Ross Greer, candidate
Speaking to CommonSpace following the launch, party co-convener Maggie Chapman said: “We have an austerity agenda coming at us from Westminster that is biting communities across Scotland that is making life unlivable for too many people. We need to use the powers of the Scottish parliament has to address that.
“Without properly funded services and address inequality we wont be able to deliver the type of Scotland we all want to see. We want to use the tax proposals to pay for services and to tackle inequality.”
With a dig at recent SNP tax proposals, she added during the launch: “Our manifesto will not be delivered by a timid government.”
Fellow co-convener Patrick Harvie said that tax reform followed by economic reforms to job creation, pay and workers rights would be the party’s priorities following the election.
Ross Greer, lead West of Scotland candidate, also backed placing tax policy at the heart of any “very hypothetical” negotiations.
“I think Patrick was right that tax has to be the number one priority. Everything else flows from how much money you have to spend on it. It’s one of the areas where there really is a significant difference between us and the SNP. We’re proposing some progressive tax plans, while they are sticking with the status quo.”
“It’s an area where agreement can be reached.”
The 46 page manifesto – compared to a vinyl LP by a Green spokesperson – contains Green proposals on the economy, land reform, housing and a range of social issues.
Read: Greens and SNP split on how to tax the unequal housing market
Although the growth of the Greens occurred due to the independence referendum, the manifesto is focused on using parliamentary powers for greater equality rather than a quick-fire second independence vote.
The party claims its proposals and record in parliament provide an effective and constructive alternative to both the SNP and unionist parties.
The SNP recently rejected Green policy to replace the council tax , warning that tax changes would result in higher charges.
With the SNP expected to be by far the largest party, any Green influence would depend on post-election negotiations and their influence within the parliament. Green candidates stress that any agreement would require democratic support from across the party.
The biggest economic impact from Green policy would be on the housing sector, the largest source of private wealth.
Chapman said Green policy would end the use of housing as “a form of financial speculation” through rent controls, planning controls and reducing the cost of land for council land bids.
Attention was also drawn to the party’s proposal for an ‘unhealthy food levy’, aimed to wrest control of food standards back from large multinational companies. When asked whether Greggs the baker would be let off the hook by a supermarket charge, candidate Alison Johnstone said she was glad to see “more salad in those wraps” although admitted she was “partial to a bit of cake”.
Theatrically, a Green spokesperson told the media that the party was “on the cusp of greatness” in the upcoming election.
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