STUC welcomes a conversation on tax but encourages a wider focus in the debate.

November 2nd 2017

The Scottish Government today published an analysis of tax proposals of opposition parties and some tests for their own position. The Scottish Trades Union Congress welcomes the focus that the Government is now putting on tax, having urged the First Minister to do so earlier this year.

Commenting on the Scottish Government’s tax plan announced this morning Grahame Smith STUC General Secretary said: “The STUC has repeatedly highlighted the need to consider a range of tax and benefit options in Scotland that seek to positively influence behaviors and prioritises the redistribution of wealth. The Scottish Government’s economic tests seem positive but must be sensibly applied. It is clear that Scotland must raise a greater level of tax in order to end austerity, fairly pay public sector workers and properly resource our public services. When aiming to evaluate the economic impact of taxation, the economic gains that come from increased public spending and redistribution, must not be missed.

“The Scottish Government’s paper fails to consider the redistributive role that tax can play, by focusing narrowly on progressivity. While it is important to consider how changes are made fairly within the tax system, it is also vital to remember that tax can be used to support the lowest paid. The focus on redistribution should balance the need to raise revenue while protecting those on the lowest wages.

“We also need to ensure that any tax reform is accompanied by a commitment to fight for the retention of tax offices and protect the jobs of tax workers. Without this tax avoidance will increase.

“It is essential that tax becomes a genuine focus of public debate. The Government’s paper should be a foundation to build a national conversation on tax, and we must strive to widen the debate beyond income tax and consider the whole system of tax and benefit powers that are at the Scottish Government’s disposal.

“We look forward to playing a key role in this process and shaping the Government’s proposals so that we can have a genuine conversation on how the new powers of the Parliament can be used to support public services and the wider economy.

The Scottish Government must focus on creating a tax system that is more redistributive which raises revenues for public spending, supports the Scottish economy and puts an end to a decade of recession and stagnation.”

ENDS

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