In a bold, positive and progressive offer for the Scottish Parliamentary Elections, the Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats has today committed his party to making the biggest investment in Scottish education since devolution by increasing income tax by a penny.
The party is committing to this investment to deliver a transformational effect on Scottish education and to reverse the damage of SNP cuts. The party’s proposals will include a Pupil Premium, an expansion in nursery education, reversal of college cuts and stopping school cuts. The party will be leading a debate on the Pupil Premium in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon.
Using new powers devolved to Scotland, Willie Rennie has unveiled plans to save the Scottish education system by adding one pence to each income tax rate to raise £475million a year for Scottish education.
Speaking at an Edinburgh nursery this morning, Mr Rennie said: “Liberal Democrats have an ambitious plan to get Scotland back on track by making the biggest investment in education since devolution with just one pence on income tax.
"A Scottish education was once the envy of the world. It has fallen hard and fast. But we have the plan that will put it right back up there."
“To get fit for the future our economy and our children need the best education. If we fail to act, a generation of children will miss out on the quality education they deserve. Every day counts. Kids cannot get their time at school back once it is gone.
“Liberal Democrats are not prepared to stand by while the SNP inflict even more devastating damage to our once-proud education system.
“We have four immediate and urgent proposals for Scotland’s education system.
- A pupil premium for children who need extra help at school, which Scottish Liberal Democrat MSPs in Holyrood will lead a debate on this afternoon.
- An expansion of the nursery education programme.
- Repairing the disproportionate cuts to colleges.
- And stopping the SNP’s damaging cuts to schools.
“Our costed and progressive package of measures will ensure that Scotland races back up the international education standings to our world-beating best.
“We are protecting people on low and middle incomes thanks to the Liberal Democrats in government who raised tax thresholds to take thousands of people out of tax and cut it for thousands more.
"One penny is a small price for a big boost to get the country fit for the future.
"Our ambitious plan will enable every girl and boy in Scotland to make the best of themselves and get on in life. Progressives will support it, conservatives will oppose it. The question is where the Nationalists will stand. On investing in a first class future for our children, is Nicola Sturgeon progressive or conservative. I call on the SNP to back our plans in Scotland's interests.
“I will be submitting this proposal to the Scottish Government’s budget process.”