Leader Comment: Nicola Sturgeon’s bold move on tax

Nicola Sturgeon has stood by former minister Mark McDonald. Picture: Andrew Cowan/PA
Nicola Sturgeon has stood by former minister Mark McDonald. Picture: Andrew Cowan/PA
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In these days of hype and spin, we are used to hearing of seismic shifts and momentous moves almost every week.

But a change of genuine significance has just taken place in Scottish politics with Nicola Sturgeon’s move to embrace higher taxes as a way of beating austerity.

It is something that many have been clamouring for for many years. You don’t have to look far for evidence of why. The city’s plans to close its renowned Broughton High music school - which now seems certain to be abandoned - and the £3 million cuts being lined up for the city’s under-pressure health and social care services show how much local authorities are struggling to find savings that don’t impact on frontline services.

The intriguing thing is how well this will go down with voters. Many of us say we want better public services - but how many will be happy to help pay for them so directly? And at what level of income will people feel they can afford to pay a little more?

There is no doubt that it is a brave move by the First Minister. If she succeeds, she will have performed a seismic feat. The trick will be making changes gradually and convincing voters that their extra taxes will be used efficiently to improve struggling public services.