A PROPOSAL to raise Scottish income tax to fund the NHS has been shelved by the Liberal Democrats.
Holyrood candidates Alex Cole Hamilton and Christine Jardine moved to head off a motion at the Scottish Lib Dems’ autumn conference in Dunfermline which would have committed the party to an unconditional 1% tax rise.
Instead, the party has voted to “resolve the current funding crisis in our health sector and deliver additional resources through a fair reallocation of spending” before it would consider tax rises.
Allan Heron, who proposed the motion on behalf of Paisley and Renfrewshire Lib Dems, said any solution to NHS funding that does not consider tax rises amounts to inventing “a magic money tree” where resources could be found.
“I struggle to see the other areas where funds can be reallocated from,” he said.
“I think we would just end up in a situation where there would be equally deserving screams from other policy areas.”
Ms Jardine said the amendment “will strengthen the motion”.
“We need to re-establish the link between the health service and taxation,” she said. “Yes, we now have that opportunity but should it be the first response?
“The amendment will allow us to underline to the electorate that we have the commitment, determination and political will to repair that damage that the SNP has done.”
Despite a final warning by Paisley councillor Eileen McCartin that the additional caveats would reduce the motion to a “mibbes aye, mibbes naw” policy, conference backed the amended motion, effectively shelving tax rises unless current spending can be reshuffled.