A progressive rejection of populist politics or a dangerous experiment?

THE Labour party has shown its mettle by rejecting populist politics and having the gumption to take the hard decision to raise income tax by 1p (your report, February 2).

The Liberal Democrats and Labour have declared their intention to raise income tax and the Tories are proposing to lower it. But the SNP - the party which has spent decades trying to gain control of as many powers as it can - is the one party which is determined to sit on its hand and fail to use the extra powers the Scottish government now has!

The SNP are, of course, adept at the U-turn although, having already labelled the 1p increase as regressive and a “tax grab”, surely even they would not at this juncture steal the policies of other parties?

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But the challenge is now there for John Swinney. Will he - despite having an increase of £205 million in the block grant - stick to his policy of whingeing about Westminster cuts whilst at the same time imposing Osborne austerity on local authorities? Or will he eat humble pie and admit that maybe having extra powers is something he could use for the benefit of the Scottish people?

Colin Hamilton

Braid Hills Avenue, Edinburgh

The desire by some of Scotland’s political parties to impose a 1p increase in Income Tax must surely be met with resistance.

If Westminster had suggested such a mechanism there would have been outrage, just as we saw when Scotland was the “experiment” for the Poll Tax.

It is no better an idea coming from within. For the relatively small amounts it would raise, it is surely one of the quickest ways to see our higher tax payers disappear to a lower tax setup.

Utter folly, and this time I can’t blame the SNP – yet.

Ken Currie

Liberton Drive, Edinburgh

Since the referendum, the SNP government has branded itself as being anti-austerity. However, they have been happy to simultaneously pass on austerity driven cuts to our public services.

Scottish Labour have now shown that there is a progressive alternative (your report 2 February). We can choose to ask those individuals who earn more than £20,000 per annum to pay a wee bit more tax and use that money to invest in education and social care in Scotland.

Kezia Dugdale’s progressive and bold plan to raise the income tax rate by 1p to fund essential public services is a test for the SNP. They can choose to ignore it and commit to thousands of job losses, or they can back the plan to protect the services the vulnerable need.

The policy is also a test for former Labour voters who now back the SNP. These are not the intransigents that want independence at any cost, but people who simply want Scotland to be a fairer country to work, live and bring up children. I find it hard to believe that this latter group will choose to back SNP cuts to schools when there is a fair and progressive alternative.

(Dr) Scott Arthur

Buckstone Gardens, Edinburgh

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How I rejoiced when I read your Tuesday headline, “Labour promises 1p income tax hike to end spending cuts”.

At last Scottish Labour is returning to its roots and is now able to challenge the low tax and austerity policies of the Conservatives and their SNP allies.

The voters now have a real choice in the May Holyrood elections, that choice being between a vote for a progressive party and one which is willing to sacrifice the interests of those at the margins of society in order to promote independence.

John Milne

Ardgowan Drive, Uddingston