Patrick Harvie says Greens ‘can’t support’ SNP’s budget at the moment

Green co-convener Patrick Harvie
Green co-convener Patrick Harvie
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Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie has said his party is unable to support the Scottish Government’s budget at this stage.

Speaking on Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr Harvie said the Greens wanted to see Finance Secretary Derek Mackay embrace a more progressive tax regime.

He also criticised cuts planned to council services.

As Finance Secretary of a minority government, Mr Mackay requires some opposition support to get his budget through Holyrood. Given that the SNP and the Greens both favour Scottish independence, Mr Mackay might have expected a sympathetic hearing from Mr Harvie for his plans.

But the Green co-convener said the budget was not progressive enough.

Mr Harvie said: “They could change the relationship between the basic rate – reduce the first half of it and increase the second half of it so that it is only the high earners that pay a bit more.

“They [Scottish government] could change the threshold in the higher rate. They are proposing to increase that, not by as much as the UK, but still increasing it - that represents a tax cut for high earners.”

The Green politician also attacked cuts to local authority budgets.

“I don’t think we could support a budget that has such astonishing cuts to local authority services,” he added.

Mr Harvie also suggested Scotland could revisit the independence question before the UK leaves the EU.

“I think a reasonable guess would be that if Scotland chooses to have this question again - if the UK digs its heels in and refuses to respect the way Scotland voted to remain in the EU - then maybe some point around half way mark of the two year Brexit negotiation or not long after the half way mark.”

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