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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Tax the rich to help the poor, says charity

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CPAG and SCVO have said the time is right for examining the rate of income tax

Rich people should be made to pay more to combat poverty, a major charity has said.

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland said "progressive taxation" is needed to pay for services and to lift families out of deprivation.

It spoke out as the Scottish Government published a discussion paper examining the role of income tax in Scotland.

The paper details the potential impact of tax plans, with four approaches being considered, and could result in higher bills for those earning more than £24,000 a year.

John Dickie, director of CPAG Scotland, said that a progressive tax system is needed to help prevent child poverty.

He said: "Scotland is a hugely wealthy country yet over one in four of our children are growing up in poverty. As a society we need to invest more in the social security and social infrastructure that we know are needed, along with a fairer labour market, to end that poverty, and progressive taxation is vital in ensuring we have the resources to make that investment.

“Opening up a positive debate on income tax is a very welcome step forward, and we urge both politicians and public to see this as a crucial opportunity to help ensure our nations resources are distributed in a way that leaves no child below the poverty line."

And the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) has also welcomed a debate on tax.

Director of public affairs John Downie said: “There’s no question that almost a decade of austerity has had a serious and negative impact on public spending in Scotland, and this is taking its toll on the services we all rely on.

“We believe people will be prepared to pay more taxes if it advances social good, so it is important that political parties spell out why and where additional revenue will be spent. Topping up departmental coffers or using new funding for a PR or vanity project simply won’t be good enough. We urge the Scottish Parliament to target resources effectively – taking radical and preventative measures to make Scotland a healthier, fairer and more progressive nation.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the time is right for tax increases to be considered, but said any decision would not be taken lightly.

“As the impact of austerity, Brexit and changing demographics bears down even harder, it is now time to ask ourselves some tough questions,” she said.

“None of us want to see our cherished public services increasingly constrained in what they can deliver.

“So with all the pressures we now face, we must consider if the time has come for those who earn the most to pay a modest amount more to enable us to do so.”

The Scottish Conservatives have called for an independent economic assessment of the proposals, whilst Scottish Labour has said the proposals do not go far enough to end austerity.