Retail chiefs urge MSPs to back SNP budget plans

SNP MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde, Stuart McMillan, has called on his political opponents across the West of Scotland region to get behind the Scottish Government’s budget proposals, following a warning from the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) that a defeat would create a “thick layer of uncertainty” for businesses at an “already challenging time”.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament last month, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay MSP, announced an additional £730 million investment in health services, £180 million aimed at boosting attainment in schools and £5 billion of capital investment that includes a £50 million town centre fund to support struggling high streets.

The Finance Secretary also announced that levels of income tax will stay at their current rate – ensuring Scotland remains the lowest taxed part of the UK – while increasing the Starter and Basic Rate bands in line with inflation will offer protection to the lowest and middle earning taxpayers.

The plans will see 99% of Scots paying the same or less tax than the previous year.

With the UK’s departure from the European Union just two months away, SRC Director David Lonsdale, has stressed the damage uncertainty could have on firms.

Mr Lonsdale said:

“In the current volatile economic and political climate, businesses need as much certainty as possible. That’s why it’s crucial MSPs take a collegiate approach to ensure a Budget, which supports economic growth, is passed without delay.

“Robust debate and scrutiny over the coming days is both right and necessary, however any failure to pass a Budget in good time would add a thick layer of uncertainty at an already challenging time for many businesses.”

Commenting, Mr McMillan said:

“In the face of Brexit chaos and confusion, this draft budget offers stability for businesses and protects Scotland’s public services.

“I hope my parliamentary colleagues from across the political divide will heed the call from Scottish retailers, and get behind our Budget plans.”

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