Tomorrow Scotland’s Finance Secretary will set out the Scottish Government’s tax and spending plans for the year ahead.
It won’t be an easy task given the cuts handed down in last month’s UK budget. According to the independent Fraser of Allander Institute, Scotland’s budget faces cuts of £500 million over the next two years. That’s half a billion less to spend on schools, hospitals and protecting the most vulnerable.
Yet the Tory budget is being cheered through the House of Commons by 13 Tory MPs from Scotland. In fact, Ruth Davidson hailed the budget as a ‘win’ for her MPs.
It should come as no surprise then that the only proposal the Scottish Tories have put forward for the Scottish budget, is to cut it further still to pay for tax cuts for the rich.
The effect of their tax policies would be to reduce the cash available for public services by £335 million more.
So, as the cost of living is rising, Ruth Davidson’s priority is a tax cut for the rich.
Not that this has stopped her backbenchers calling for more spending. Over the past year Tory MSPs have made at least 70 calls for more money across almost every area of government.
You really couldn’t make it up. A Tory UK government has cut Scotland’s budget and the Scottish Tories want to cut it further AND spend more.
Thankfully, the Tories are nowhere near power in Scotland.
In government, the SNP is committed to protecting Scotland from Westminster cuts – and this budget will be no exception.
Tomorrow Derek Mackay will set out a budget that protects low earners, invests in public services and grows our economy.
It will set a new direction of travel for Scotland – one that could not be further from the Scottish Tory austerity plan.
Ivan McKee is SNP MSP for Glasgow Provan