Labour call for vote of no confidence in SNP Draft Budget

The Scottish Government’s Draft Budget Bill faces a potential setback in the form of a vote of no confidence by Scottish Labour today.

The party has tabled a motion asking MSPs to agree that “the Parliament believes that the Draft Budget does not protect public services”. It is believed that this wording is designed to make it difficult for the Scottish Green Party – the government’s most likely ally – to disagree.

Labour said the draft budget left councils facing a real terms cut of £700m in the coming year.  They have also referred to analysis from the Fraser of Allander Institute, that has found that the draft budget only generates an additional £28million to invest in public services. The party said current spending plans would “perpetuate unacceptable levels of poverty and inequality”, and council cuts would affect the poorest the most.

James_Kelly_MSP

Secretary for Finance, James Kelly | Image Credit: Wikimedia

Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance, James Kelly (shown), said:

“The SNP has failed to halt austerity in Scotland and this budget will simply perpetuate unacceptable levels of poverty and mean more cuts to lifeline local services.”

Kelly has also argued that the government must make better use of its tax powers:

“Instead of tinkering around the edges we need a budget that delivers real and radical change, protecting services and tackling poverty.”

A spokesperson for Finance Secretary Derek Mackay criticised Labour’s move as a ‘pathetic stunt’, arguing that it would cause more harm than good to the Scottish public. They went on to attack Labour further:

“Looking at the Labour group’s contribution to the budget process so far, you get the impression that the changing of light bulbs within the Labour offices requires a three-line whip.”

Green MSP Patrick Harvie said Labour were “posturing” on the budget, but agreed that it must go further on improving council services and public sector pay.

“The budget as drafted must go further to improve council funding and public sector pay if it’s to win our support. Labour’s motion stating the obvious won’t achieve the necessary changes.”

The draft budget is currently under scrutiny by the Scottish parliament’s committees. A formal Budget Bill is due to be introduced on January 25, with a final vote in the week beginning February 19.

MSPs must also vote though tax plans setting the new rates, bands and thresholds for income tax in 2018-19 before any Budget can be passed.

 

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