Scottish Greens plan tax hike for 'super-wealthy' and fuel industry

Media caption,

Lorna Slater said her party recognised the need for tax reform

  • Published

The co-leader of the Scottish Greens has said her party would introduce higher taxes for the "super wealthy" and the fossil fuel industry.

Lorna Slater said other political parties are "scared to talk about tax" during the party's campaign launch in Stirling.

She added that the Greens were the only party being "honest" with voters about the need for tax reform to fund improvements to public services.

The SNP previously claimed a windfall tax on the oil industry could cost jobs, while Labour has said it would introduce a "time-limited" windfall tax on the sector.

Speaking to BBC Scotland News following her party's campaign launch, Ms Slater said the UK's bigger parties are "shying away" from the "biggest and most pressing issues" like tax reform and the climate emergency.

She said: "They all seem to be scared to talk about tax, they both promise that they won’t increase taxes but at the same time that they will bring better public services and investment. They can’t do that, the maths simply does not add up."

Ms Slater said her party would increase taxes for the super wealthy and introduce windfall taxes on fossil fuel firms in order to put money "back into people's pockets, back into public services and to build a fairer country".

Sir Keir Starmer has promised a time-limited windfall tax on the excess profits of oil and gas companies.

The SNP's Westminister leader Stephen Flynn had claimed this policy would result in "100,000 job losses" for North Sea workers.

BBC Verify later concluded it was misleading to suggest Labour’s plans put all of those jobs at risk.

Both Labour and the Conservatives have been criticised by Paul Johnson, director of the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), for their unwillingness to consider tax increases.

Like Labour, the Conservatives have also committed not increasing income tax rates or VAT. They also plan to freeze tax thresholds through to 2028.

While the Liberal Democrats' manifesto includes no increases to the rate of income tax, VAT or National Insurance contributions.

Instead it says £4bn would be raised by reversing tax cuts for big banks, while it plans to raise £5bn by closing the loopholes on Capital Gains Tax it says is used by the top 0.1% wealthiest individuals.

Income tax in Scotland is set by the Scottish Government.

Image source, PA Images
Image caption,

The Scottish Greens held their election campaign launch in Stirling

During the launch, the Scottish Greens also called for the next Westminster government to end new oil and gas licences and ban fossil fuel advertising.

Ms Slater said: “With Greens in government, Scotland - the country that helped bring the coal-fired industrial revolution to the world - adopted a position of no support for coal, oil and gas extraction on land, ending any prospect that these industries could be revived.

“This is what elected Greens do, and we do it at every level of Government. In Edinburgh, for example, Scottish Green councillors last month succeeded in banning advertising from fossil fuel companies and other high carbon industries on council owned advertising space like buses and billboards."

The party's other co-leader reaffirmed the Scottish Greens' commitment to "delivering an independent green Scotland in Europe".

Mr Harvie said the Scottish Green manifesto, due to be published next week, would set out how powers currently held at Westminster could be used to "create a fairer future for all".

But he added: "The only way we can deliver those plans is for Scotland to be able to choose its own way.

"That starts by Westminster granting the Scottish Parliament the power to hold constitution referendums so the people of Scotland can make their choice about their future at a time of their choosing."

Elsewhere on the campaign trail, Alex Cole-Hamilton was in Peebles to discuss the Liberal Democrats' manifesto. The manifesto set out plans for additional funding for healthcare in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on top coming on top of the £8.35bn announced for England.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said: "The money we are generating from the tax changes in London will bring consequentials to Scotland which the Liberal Democrats would ear mark for local health care."

Scottish Labour's Anas Sarwar said his party would close the non-dom tax loophole and use the money to fund life sciences.

Meanwhile, Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes has said that either a Labour or Conservative government at Westminster would mean more cuts to public services.

On a campaign visit to a sawmill in Nairn, she said Sir Keir Starmer’s party would double down and "persevere with Tory austerity" while her party had set out a "progressive approach" to taxation to try and mitigate against austerity.

The Scottish Conservatives' day has been dominated by the news that leader Douglas Ross will stand down after the election.