At a time when we desperately need investment in our public services and to drive Scotland’s economy, it is right to consider using the tax powers of the Scottish Parliament in a progressive way – ensuring that those who are able to pay a bit more do so.
Seven years of austerity has held the Scottish economy back. The rich have become richer while the rest have missed out.
The number of people earning over £150,000 has increased by 68% since 2010 while our schools and hospitals have faced continual cuts.
The SNP has voted against introducing a 50p top rate of income tax on the highest earners eight times since 2015.
And a millionaire has paid less than £2 a week extra in income tax because of SNP tax policies.
Surely it is only fair that those who have a bit more be asked to make a bigger contribution towards a better Scotland on the grounds that they can afford to do so and it benefits us all if we live in a more equal society.
Labour believes that is fair and we know, thanks to analysis confirmed by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre, that our amendments to the two previous budgets, for 2016/17 and 2017/18, would have raised just over £1 billion in additional tax revenue compared to the tax plans that were passed by the SNP government.
That money would have made a huge difference to the quality of our public services, helping to make Scotland a better country to live, work, grow up and grow old in.
Exactly 15 years ago when the NHS faced enormous problems, a Labour Government stepped in and doubled the budget.
Today many of our public services face enormous problems and there is a need a desperate need for investment in services, in people and in infrastructure.
It is time once again to make the case for progressive taxation, for those who can pay a bit more to do so through a progressive tax system and to build a better fairer Scotland.