Kelly wants top tax rate of 50p

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

James Kelly MSP has called for a 50p tax rate for top earn­ers to pay for an im­proved ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang.

The Labour busi­ness man­ager used a de­bate in the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment to chal­lenge the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to use their new pow­ers to close the at­tain­ment gap.

He also ac­cused the SNP of “work­ing hand in glove” with the Con­ser­va­tives to block a Labour amend­ment to in­tro­duce the 50p tax rate.

Mr Kelly said: “Last week we had a real chance to make a dif­fer­ence to thou­sands of young peo­ple across Scot­land, but in­stead the SNP work­ing hand in glove with Tories blocked the Labour amend­ment.

“This is another ex­am­ple of the SNP talk­ing left and act­ing right, and once again show­ing us they are noth­ing more than tar­tan Tories.”

Fig­ures re­leased last week sug­gested more than 6000 Scot­tish chil­dren were leav­ing pri­mary school un­able to read prop­erly.

They also said pri­vate school pupils in Scot­land are twice as likely to get an A in their Highers than state school pupils and that school leavers from richer back­grounds are twice as likely to go on to higher ed­u­ca­tion than those from poorer back­grounds.

Mr Kelly added: “Ev­ery child de­serves the very best start in life and I will work with any­one who wants to trans­form and open up op­por­tu­ni­ties for our young peo­ple.

“The gov­ern­ment in Ed­in­burgh need to wake up; the com­pla­cency from SNP back­benchers dur­ing the de­bate was as­ton­ish­ing.

“They need to start fo­cus­ing on what mat­ters now and ac­cept re­spon­si­bil­ity for the over 4000 teach­ers cut, the ris­ing class sizes, and the un­fair cuts to school bud­get.

“Scot­land is the only part of the UK where that has hap­pened.

“Clos­ing the gap in our schools be­tween the rich and the rest must be our num­ber one pri­or­ity.

“If the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment is se­ri­ous about clos­ing the gap in our class­rooms then they need to lis­ten and grasp this op­por­tu­nity be­fore it’s too late.”

The Scot­tish Par­lia­ment will have con­trol of the rate of in­come tax north of the bor­der from April 1 next year.

Ruther­glen SNP re­sponded to Mr Kelly’s com­ments by ac­cus­ing him of want­ing the Gov­ern­ment to take ac­tion on some­thing that was, for now, out­with their power.

Clare Haughey, who will stand against Mr Kelly at next year’s Scot­tish elec­tion, said: “Mr Kelly is propos­ing that the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment use pow­ers in a 2015 Westminster Bill which has not yet been passed.

“The tax pow­ers in the 2012 bill will not even come into force un­til next year.

“Right now the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment are in­vest­ing to en­sure ev­ery child has the best start in life, with free learn­ing and child­care, a £100mil­lion at­tain­ment fund that will tar­get im­prove­ments in nu­mer­acy and lit­er­acy and £ 51m next year to main­tain teacher num­bers.

“If Mr Kelly re­ally wants to help our young peo­ple achieve in school I sug­gest he talks to his Labour col­leagues at South La­nark­shire Coun­cil and ask them to re­verse the cuts to free school trans­port.”

This is another ex­am­ple of the SNP talk­ing left and act­ing right

Tax James Kelly MSP

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