UK

Scottish Greens call for full tax and employment powers for Scotland

The party backs independence and has also called for the devolution of powers to call referendums.

Scottish Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie
Scottish Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie (Jane Barlow/PA)

The next UK government “must empower Scotland” with the devolution of all tax and employment powers and significantly enhanced borrowing powers, the Scottish Greens argue.

The party’s manifesto calls for the full devolution of taxation and employment powers to Scotland, including powers over corporation tax, inheritance tax, environmental taxes, minimum wage and alcohol and tobacco levies.

The Scottish Greens back independence and have called for the devolution of powers to call referendums so politicians sitting in Holyrood can decide whether another vote should be held on whether or not Scotland should be an independent country.

The party acknowledges some additional powers have been passed to Scotland over the last decade but insists it still only manages around 40% of its taxes and around 60% of public spending.

Co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “Independence is right at the heart of our vision for a fairer, greener Scotland in Europe. It would ensure that we always get the governments we vote for and would allow us to do far more to protect people and planet.

“Yet if there is one thing that unites the Labour Party and the Tories it is a refusal to respect basic democracy and allow the people of Scotland to vote on our future.

“That growing urgency for independence does not mitigate the need to rapidly expand and enhance the powers of our Scottish Parliament and our communities so that we can fairly tax polluters and turbo-charge our transition to a greener economy.

“The last 14 years have seen a Tory government that Scotland rejected, riding roughshod over devolution and inflicting punishing restrictions and cuts on our budgets.

“With very limited powers we have taken important progressive steps, allowing us to deliver free bus travel for young people, a real living wage for public sector contractors and a Scottish Child Payment that is lifting children and families out of poverty. With more powers we can do even more.

“Labour had told us that they will ‘reset devolution’ but have said very little about what that would actually mean in practice. Which powers do they think Scotland is incapable of managing and why?”

“The best people to make choices about the future of Scotland are the people who live here. Why should our parliament be unable to increase the wages of workers who live here? Why should we be unable to tax the wealth of the huge corporations who do business here? And why should our parliament be denied the borrowing powers that would allow us to invest in our communities and the services we all rely on?”

Mr Harvie added: “The last 14 years have exposed how constrained we are by devolution. With revenue raising powers and, crucially, far greater borrowing powers, we could have done much more to avoid the pain of Tory austerity and economic policies that Scotland voted against time and again.

“There are MSPs and activists across all parties who believe in Scotland’s right to govern ourselves and realise how far short we fall in terms of the powers we need. I hope that this is an area where we can genuinely work together to ensure Scotland is no longer paying the price for decisions made in Westminster.”