A leaked document has revealed that Labour are planning to hammer Scottish families with more taxes if they are elected to Holyrood next year.
The internal Labour policy document says the Labour party support a “basket of taxes” to keep revenues up. The document also includes a wish list of spending commitments, none of which are costed.
The document’s existence was revealed by First Minister Alex Salmond in an exchange with Iain Gray at First Ministers Questions, the document states:
“Scottish Labour believe that the fairest approach is to have a basket of taxes”
The tax plans come only weeks after Iain Gray confirmed that his party would support increases in the council tax. Labour MSP and member of The House of Lords, Lord George Foulkes, has also argued for an additional ‘tartan tax’ of 3p to be levied on Scottish workers. Such tax rises would make Scots the highest taxed workers in the UK.
Two weeks after she first called on Iain Gray to come clean about his tax plans, SNP Depute Leader Nicola Sturgeon has again called on Labour to reveal these new taxes and explain how much extra they plan to take from Scots workers.
Challenging Iain Gray she said:
“This is a tax bombshell from Labour. Iain Gray is planning to hit Scottish households with a tax double whammy if they get back into office.
“We already know that Iain Gray is on record calling for the Council Tax to go up. Now he wants new taxes as well as higher taxes to pay for their uncosted policy wish list.
“The SNP wants to protect family incomes. Labour want to hit hard pressed Scottish families, forcing them to pay for the public finance mess Labour created.
“Iain Gray owes the public a clear explanation. What new taxes does he want in his basket and how much does he plan on raising with them?
“What is increasingly clear is that Labour simply want to hit taxpayers for more money to get them out of the economic mess they created.”
The First Minister also attacked Iain Gray’s stance on council tax describing it as ‘schizophrenic’. Mr Salmond revealed that Mr Gray recently called for an end to a council tax freeze only to state days later that he had no opposition to a freeze.
Mr Salmond had been responding to a question from Labour MSP Michael McMahon who had used passages from an article in The Herald newspaper in order to attack the SNP’s pledge to make funding available for a further two year freeze on the unfair tax.
With the economy and cuts to the Scottish budget by Westminster certain to feature prominently in the run up to the Holyrood elections in 2011 Labour face an uphill struggle if they are to convince Scots of the need to pay more taxes in order to make up the cash shortfall, a shortfall that Scots blame more on Labour than any other party.
The campaign is sure to see the SNP focus on two key areas; that Labour caused the UK deficit and the need for fiscal independence in order to grow the Scottish economy and protect jobs.
Labour’s new UK leader Ed Miliband is expected to speak at the Labour Scottish Conference in Oban today and it will be interesting to see if a change of leader at UK level has led to a change of approach at Scottish level.
Iain Gray’s Labour group have, up until to now, defined themselves by opposing almost everything the SNP do. The Scottish electorate will almost certainly need more from Mr Gray if he is to wrest the crown from Alex Salmond.
However, early reports suggest that Gordon Brown’s old slogans of ‘Stronger together – weaker apart’ and ‘Breaking up Britain’ will be heavily relied upon. The next three days in Oban will give an indication as to whether Labour in Scotland have another trick up their sleeve.