“The SNP is intent on ensuring some measure of fairness in our society and, to anyone who wants to see where the parties stand on social justice and on having a system that is inherently fair, I point out that the Scottish Government has not only implemented but maintained and fully funded a freeze on the indirect council tax. It is one small measure that the Government can take within the very limited range of powers that it has to help those in need. We have all heard Iain Gray and his troops call for the freeze to be lifted. Folk have not forgotten how quickly council tax rose under Labour Administrations at national and local level. Indeed, my colleague Tricia Marwick has just reminded me that the increase was 60 per cent over 10 years. We have no desire to see that return.
It is interesting that, although Labour and the other Opposition parties want to see lower-paid people take on an increasingly unfair burden in the shape of rising council tax, they also want to protect the profits of the big supermarkets. They think that Tesco, with a turnover of more than £42 billion, is less able to afford to take some of the strain than someone who receives the minimum wage for their work. It seems that Sainsbury’s and Asda, with turnovers approaching £20 billion a year, and Morrisons, with over £15 billion a year, cannot spare the pennies, but Scots pensioners can. That is the world according to the Labour Party, the Conservative party and the Liberal Democrat party.”
“We approach the budget with a very important choice to make, which is pertinent in this season of Burns. Is Scotland to be a progressive nation that considers fairness for all, or are we to say, “Deil tak the hindmost”?”