Scottish Greens launch manifesto with plans for supermarket levy

THE Scottish Greens claimed to have Labour in their sights as they launched a radical high tax manifesto that also proposes a new levy on retailers who sell poor quality food.

Tuesday, 12th April 2016, 1:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th April 2016, 4:39 pm
Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie. Picture: Greg Macvean

The owners of Scotland’s country estates were also targeted in document that proposed to make land ownership “fully transparent”.

The Greens want to see those earning more than £150,000 a year pay a 60p income tax rate - a 15p increase on the current rate - with a new 43p rate introduced for those earning £43,000 or more.

A key proposal was to establish “nutritional targets” for supermarkets, a proposal that would see a levy imposed on large retailers and caterers who “choose to promote too much poor quality food”.

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Green co-convener Patrick Harvie likened the pledge to minimum pricing for alcohol. There was no figure produced for the levy.

Mr Harvie said: “It is important to remember that the huge bulk of our food chain has effectively been handed over to a tiny number of giant retailers. They impact on our culture in a far more powerful way than any smaller high street chain or small business. If we can change that culture – a similar kind of culture change to one that minimum pricing of alcohol was intended to bring about. When that was first floated it wasn’t about what the number would be but what signals it sent.”

After publishing its manifesto, Mr Harvie said: “We are the only party proposing to cut income tax for those earning less than the average while asking those on high incomes to contribute a fairer share.

“Scotland can raise extra funds fairly for public services while also tackling inequality.

“Our manifesto shows how a vote for the Scottish Greens is a vote for a bolder Holyrood, for a plan to deliver lasting jobs, high-quality social care and good homes for all. The Scottish Greens are best placed to meet the challenges of our time.”

Maggie Chapman, the other co-convener, said the Greens were going after Labour.

“We need Greens in Holyrood now more than ever before to deliver the feisty parliament that will stand up for all of our people. With just over three weeks to go to polling day we are better placed that ever before. We have Labour in our sights and we are determined to become the radical, bold voice that parliament and Scotland needs.”

On Land Reform, the party plans to modernise land law, outlaw land ownership in offshore tax havens and do more to encourage community ownership.

The land reform campaigner and Green candidate Andy Wightman said: “We believe land should be democratised and communities should have greater control vital in rural and urban Scotland.”

He added that “estates may not in the medium to long term future have much of a future. But I think is in the long term. There is no immediate threat to their continued existence. But we think our tax proposals, for example, will lead over a period of 10-years or so to a gradual diminution of their significance.”

Other proposals included a “Living Wage Plus” of £9 an hour for social care staff, a 50 per cent increase in the Carer’s Allowance to “recognise the value of unpaid care”, help councils to buy land cheaply to “encourage the construction of more and better homes.

The manifesto also proposed a guarantee of work, training or education for every school leaver, scrapping the “outdated, unfair council tax” and phasing in a residential property tax plus prioritising a healthy start for children with support for healthy pregnancies.