My bad, I just discovered I got a reply from one of my Labour MSP’s after telling Write to them that none of them got back to me. Will actually thank Claudia on Twitter and apologise. Anyway, seems Claudia is in the group of Labour MSP’s that believe Labour proposals do include lowering as well as raising Income Tax. To quote :· “The Scottish Parliament could, using the powers of the Scotland Act 2012, and our extension to their scope, choose to lower income tax, below the UK level, across all income tax bands.”
Here’s her full reply too.
Dear Angela Miller,
Thank you for your interest in Labour’s proposals to further extend and enhance devolution for Scotland within the United Kingdom.
The Labour Party is the Party of devolution. Our founder, Keir Hardie, promoted Home Rule in the early 1900s, we participated in the Constitutional Convention in the 1980s and in 1999 we delivered a Scottish Parliament. In 2012, we extended these powers further when we supported the Scotland Act. And in 2016, as a result of these changes, the biggest transfer of fiscal powers since the Act of Union will take place.
In spring 2012, Johann Lamont established a Devolution Commission to examine what could be done to strengthen devolution further. Following two years of deliberations and a yearlong public consultation, we published our proposals on 18th March. The final report of the Commission was endorsed unanimously by Scottish Labour Party Conference on 21st March.
Our starting principle is that we believe in a society in which resources are pooled and shared across the whole country, and in which those with the broadest shoulders and greatest resources contribute most to the support of those in need.
Our report is wide-ranging and includes a number of recommendations, including:
- Further devolution of income tax, discussed in more detail below.
- Devolution of housing benefit and attendance allowance, to align more closely the provision of benefits in an area closely related to devolved services.
- Devolution of the work programme to Scottish local authorities to better meet the needs of local labour markets.
The report of the commission is extensive and also includes proposals to increase the powers available to our island communities, to improve local democratic accountability and to establish better enforcement mechanisms for health and safety in Scotland, including the establishment of a Scottish Health and Safety executive.
On income tax, we believe that the changes made by the Scotland Act 2012 are significant, but there is scope to go further.
- Labour would therefore give the Scottish Parliament the power to raise around £2 billion more in revenues beyond the recent Scotland Act.
- We will do this by widening the variation in income tax in the Scotland Act by half from 10p up to 15p.
- This will mean that three-quarters of basic rate income tax in Scotland will be under the control of the Scottish Parliament.
- The Scottish Parliament could, using the powers of the Scotland Act 2012, and our extension to their scope, choose to lower income tax, below the UK level, across all income tax bands.
- Equally, it would be possible to use the same power to increase tax, above the UK level, across all bands.
- Alternatively, if the Scottish Parliament wished to exercise greater flexibility between bands, Labour’s proposals mean that it would be empowered to do so by applying Scottish Progressive Rates of Income Tax to increase either the higher or additional rates of tax.
Labour’s proposals for further tax powers are designed to enhance fiscal accountability and flexibility at a Scottish level, while preventing destructive income tax competition between Scotland and the rest of the UK.
Labour’s policy is that fair taxation for the highest earners would be achieved by setting the additional rate at 50p.
Thank you for your interest in the final report of our devolution commission. If you require any more detail on our income tax policy, this can be found on page 148 – 151 of the report. If you wish to read the full report, it can be found on the Scottish Labour website at http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/campaigns/entry/devolution-commission
Claudia Beamish MSP
Member of the Scottish Parliament for South Scotland
Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change
Tel: 0131 348 6889 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For regular updates please visit my website: www.claudiabeamish.com
Follow me on Twitter @claudiabeamish