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Scottish anti-poverty charities back tax calls ahead of Scottish Budget

This news post is 8 months old

The STUC published their paper earlier this week. 

Two leading Scottish anti-poverty charities have welcomed a new report by the Scottish Trades Unions Congress (STUC), which outlines how the Scottish Government could raise up to £3.7 billion more per year from progressive tax changes.  

Earlier this week, Scotland’s largest trade union body implored the Scottish Government to “step up for Scotland” as the they launched their 2023 tax report showing how the extra cash can be raised per year using Scotland’s existing powers.

The report: ‘Raising tax to deliver for Scotland’ demonstrates how changes to income and property taxes from April next year could raise an additional £1.1bn for Scotland’s public services.

Longer term, the introduction of wealth taxes, replacing the council tax with a proportional property tax and introducing a super tax on private jets, amongst other measures, could raise an additional £2.6 billion per year for Scottish public finances. T

The STUC claim the tax measures are progressive and would reduce both income and wealth inequality. 

The updated report follows a similar paper from the STUC last year, demonstrating the full powers of the Scottish Parliament to raise public revenue through progressive taxation.

The report also contains detailed analysis of how the council tax could be replaced in a way that ensures low-income households don’t lose out.

STUC General Secretary Roz Foyer has implored government ministers to “rise to the challenge” of protecting public services and reducing inequality, as increased funding pressures on the Scottish Government continue as a result of the UK Government’s autumn statement.

Ms Foyer said: “Our updated tax report makes clear that the Scottish Parliament has the power to make a real difference to our communities and raise over £3.7 billion of additional revenue for our public services.

“The Scottish Government must step up for Scotland. It’s clear that, with one foot out the electoral door, the Tories are hellbent on saddling any future UK Government with devastating public sector cuts.

“We can choose a different path. It’s within the powers of our parliament - through income, land and additional dwelling taxes – to raise an initial £1.1 billion from April next year. Coupled with longer-term wealth, property and aviation taxes, the Scottish Government can raise another £2.6 billion.

“At a time when workers are suffering the biggest drop in living standards since records began, and our public services need investment more than ever, it would be a chronic dereliction of duty for government ministers to sit back and let workers suffer Tory-inflicted austerity.

“They must rise to the challenge. For the sake of our workers, communities and public services, there is simply no other option.”

The move comes as a direct response to Deputy First Minister Shona Robison's warnings of public sector workforce cuts ahead of the Scottish budget this December. If fully implemented the £3.7 billion raised could fund 82,000 public sector workers.

Now, two leading charities have backed the STUC’s calls. 

Jamie Livingstone, head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “The Scottish Government faces difficult choices in the upcoming Scottish Budget, however, this report proves there are multiple common-sense options, both next year and soon after, which Ministers could use to fairly fund action to tackle poverty, invest in care, and to confront the climate crisis, while simultaneously narrowing the gap between rich and poor. 

“Courageous, forward-thinking leadership on fair tax reform to protect and boost public investment is the blueprint for the fairer, greener, more equal Scotland we all want to live in.”

Peter Kelly, director of The Poverty Alliance, added: “The foundation of our society and our economy is the public good we’ve created together. Our politicians know there is a huge hole in the Scottish Budget which undermines that foundation and people’s freedom to prosper, but so far none of them has come up with a plan to fill it. That’s irresponsible.

“We strongly welcome today’s STUC report. Their research clearly sets out how the Scottish Parliament can act responsibly, and repair the foundations of our society using its powers over taxation and social investment.

“We hope that the Scottish Government properly considers these options ahead of this month’s Budget.”