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Scottish government must ‘step up for Scotland’ and back public services, says STUC

THE SNP-Green Scottish government must “step up for Scotland” with a budget that protects jobs and public services, the STUC said tonight.

Scotland’s largest trade union group issued the challenge as it published updated proposals to boost Scottish public spending through use of existing tax-raising powers.

Finance Secretary Shona Robison is expected to publish what has been widely trailed by ministers as the toughest post-devolution Scottish budget yet on December 19.

Ms Robison faces reconciling £1 billion of spending “pressures” while First Minister Humza Yousaf has promised to “fully fund” a council tax freeze with a price tag Cosla estimates at £14.4 billion – and has already warned of public-sector job cuts.

Now the STUC has refreshed its 2022 paper calling for use of Holyrood powers to outline how the government could use progressive tax measures to not only raise as much as £1.1bn per year more immediately, and £2.6bn in future years, but reduce income and wealth inequality.

STUC general secretary Roz Foyer said: “The Scottish government must step up for Scotland.

“It’s clear that, with one foot out the electoral door, the Tories are hell-bent on saddling any future government with devastating public-sector cuts.

“We can choose a different path.

“It’s within the powers of our parliament – through income, land and additional dwelling taxes – to raise an initial £1.1bn from April next year.

“Coupled with longer-term wealth, property and aviation taxes, the Scottish government can raise another £2.6bn.

“It would be a chronic dereliction of duty for government ministers to sit back and let workers suffer Tory-inflicted austerity.

“They must rise to the challenge. For the sake of our workers, communities and public services, there is simply no other option.”

The Scottish government was contacted for comment.

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