Scottish Labour could push for higher taxes under new leader

Conor Riordan, PA Scotland
·2-min read

Scottish Labour could push for income tax rises under its new leadership, both contenders have suggested.

Hopefuls Monica Lennon and Anas Sarwar were debating policy and personal positions on the BBC’s The Nine programme on Monday.

Topics included Scottish independence, the party’s UK leadership and Trident, while both left the door open to some tax rises.

Ms Lennon said any changes would be part of an overall review, while Mr Sarwar claimed he would want to bring in more money to the public purse by increasing the amount paid by top earners.

He added: “I think we need a progressive tax system where we get the powers we need to do a progressive tax system.

“I think people can, in that top bracket, pay more.”

The Glasgow MSP suggested a 5% tax rise for those earning more than £150,000 a year and 2% for those over £100,000.

Ms Lennon said there needed to be a “national conversation” about the tax system.

The Central Scotland MSP added: “I think it needs to be looked at, I’m not going to rule that out.

“There are top earners in the country who can afford to pay more.

“But we have to look at the whole basket of taxes.”

Meanwhile, Mr Sarwar said his party should keep the “radicalism” of Jeremy Corbyn, at a Scottish Labour leadership debate, but present better competence.

Ms Lennon praised Mr Corbyn for energising the grassroots members, but wanted to make sure Scottish Labour could win elections.

They were asked about their positions on a second Scottish independence referendum, and they repeated previous positions.

Ms Lennon said she did not believe in breaking from the UK and called for greater devolution on things such as drug laws.

She claimed she would differ from Sir Keir Starmer by calling for Holyrood to have the power to make changes.

Mr Sarwar claimed to believe Scottish voters were interested in matters other than independence, such as recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.

He said the party should be able to handle complaints north of the border, rather than relying on the Westminster party.