What are your plans for income tax?
At the moment, the Scottish Parliament has the power to raise or cut income tax, with all bands increasing or falling at the same time.
We have called for an urgent investment of £475m a year of investment in our education system. We would pay for that by putting a penny on income tax across all tax bands. We call this our penny for education policy.
Does this not hit the poorest hardest?
No. Because of increases to the personal tax allowance that we championed in government, you would have to be earning more than £19,000 to pay any more income tax next year than you have this year.
Someone on £20,000 would pay an extra 83p a month and the richest Scots will pay almost half of the extra tax. We think this is the fair way to raise this essential investment.
Independent analysis has confirmed that this is a progressive change to the tax system.
We have not taken this decision lightly. Raising tax in this way is a big step. But with schools facing a massive spending squeeze as a result of SNP council cuts, the situation is urgent.
We have the powers we need to invest and build an education system that is fit for the future. We want to use these powers.
I thought the Liberal Democrats cut taxes in government?
We did. By increasing the personal allowance, we gave more than 2 million Scots an £800 tax cut. When extra tax powers come to the Scottish Parliament in 2017, when resources allow our priority will be to create a new Zero Rate tax band. This will start where the personal allowance ends and increase the amount of money people can earn before they start paying any tax at all.
Tax cuts for people on low and middle incomes should be the priority, not putting more money back in the pockets of those who can afford to pay a little more in tax.
So you won’t match the Tories and increase the upper rate tax threshold?
No we won’t. We think that increasing the threshold at which people pay the upper rate of tax is the wrong priority. If we are giving tax cuts, they need to be targeted at the people who would benefit most – those on low and middle incomes. That is why we have proposed a new Zero Rate band instead.