After all the rhetoric from the SNP on their desire to create a fairer Scotland and independence being a chance to rid us from Tory governments for ever, John Swinney’s budget was always going to be a test. He failed.
Instead of taking Scotland down a different path, the SNP now have virtually the same tax policy as the Tories in Scotland. The easy thing for the SNP to do would have been to end the Council Tax freeze as it is an inequitable policy which has made the rich richer. Swinney failed to meet that challenge.
Raising Income Tax was always going to be difficult as the new powers he has on this are quite crude when compared to what will come when the Scotland Bill is enacted. However, government is about leadership and I feel Mr Swinney should have at least had Scotland consider the benefit of increasing income tax and channelling the money directly to where it is needed most if we are to tackle inequality at source: education. Again, he failed to meet this challenge.
Anyone who wants to create a fairer Scotland will quickly conclude that John Swinney’s budget has done nothing to cut inequality in Scotland. The SNP appear to specialise in t-shirts and bumper stickers on tackling inequality, it’s a real shame their policies don’t match.
Where is the Scottish alternative to austerity we were promised?