Scotland's budget: the story so far

Yesterday the SNP Government brought their 2016/17 budget back to Holyrood for debate.

The Scottish Parliament has always debated how we spend money in Scotland. This year, for the first time, MSPs had to consider how we raise money too.

Changes that Liberal Democrats secured in government mean that this year, Holyrood has been asked to set Scotland’s income tax rate for the first time.

The SNP’s position on tax is clear.

They want to match George Osborne and the Tories.

Meanwhile, their budget includes £500m of cuts to councils that will hammer local education budgets.

We think that this is the wrong approach at a time when 150,000 college places have been lost.

Promises on early years care have been broken.

And children in many parts of Scotland are missing out on crucial support at school simply because of where they live. Scotland is falling down the international league table on education.

We need urgent action to turn this round and that starts with investment.

Nicola Sturgeon challenged us to come up with an alternative to her spending plans.

So we did.

Our plan is different. We want to add 1p to income tax to let us make a transformational investment in education. We would spend an extra £475m a year to give children the best possible start in life.

Our plan for education

Our plans are fair - the richest will share the greatest burden and thanks to the changes to the personal allowance we championed in Government, they're progressive too, nobody earning less than £19,000 will pay more tax next year.

Yesterday at Holyrood I pressed the case for a penny for education.

For Nicola Sturgeon to use the powers that she has to help children and families.

Again, she chose not to listen, channelling George Osborne and talking about tax grabs.

The First Minister has had opportunity after opportunity to listen and change her mind.

She has failed to do so.

It is children and families who will be left counting the cost of an SNP government who talk left but walk right on tax.



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