AN income tax shake-up which sees low earners pay less and higher earners more could help raise an extra £331 million for public services, according to Patrick Harvie.

The Scottish Greens co-convener wants the Scottish Government to back his party’s proposals under which people earning less than the average salary of £26,500 would pay less income tax, while those earning more would see theirs increase.

Nicola Sturgeon announced last month in her Programme for Government that she would be opening a discussion with other political parties over income tax reform and she is due to bring out a discussion paper on the issue before the Scottish Government’s draft Budget in December.

Loading article content

Ahead of the publication of that paper, the Scottish Greens presented a new report on their plans which would see a shake-up of income tax rates and bands.

Harvie said that under those proposals, most Scots would be better off and there would be more money for public services.

“Public services are suffering and wages are stagnating, so we need to use our income tax powers to bring more money into the system while also helping people on low incomes keep more of what they earn,” he said.

“Green proposals would ensure that we get that extra revenue for services such as schools and social care, while we would also make most Scots better off.”

Harvie added that it was vital ministers didn’t just “tweak” the existing system but created new rates and bands.

Last month, former SNP local government minister Marco Biagi backed “the kernel” of the Greens’ plan as he warned against a rise in the basic rate of income tax, saying it would hit low earners.

Green MSPs gave their support to the 2017/18 budget after ministers agreed to cancel a proposed income tax cut for high earners and to reverse proposed cuts of £160m to local council services.

The Scottish Greens report published today said the current system is unfair, as someone earning £11,501 and another person earning £43,000 are taxed at the same rate.

Their proposal would reduce income tax for those earning less than the average wage of £26,500 per year.