Taxes and opinion polls dominated the political chatter yesterday, as the final poll results were published, the leaders debated on STV, and Labour and the Conservatives attacked the SNP’s plan to fund Scottish independence.
Our cloud shows tax, council, independence and percent, received high usage as the Scottish Conservatives said that only they can protect Scotland from “dangerous and costly excesses of nationalism”, and claimed the SNP’s plans to take Scotland out of Britain could mean a basic rate taxpayer paying almost half their earnings in tax.
Commenting on figures published in yesterday’s Daily Mail, Annabel Goldie, Scottish Conservative leader, said:
“Alex Salmond would turn Scotland into the highest taxed part of Britain. His dangerous plans to rip Scotland out of the UK would hammer hard working Scots, rip our country apart and decimate our economy.
“The Scottish Government’s own figures show that separation means up to a 12p hike on income tax, pushing the basic rate to 32p.
“Added to the SNP’s madcap plans to introduce a local income tax – which the report they tried to cover up said would be 4.6p – and then national insurance contributions on top of that, then it is clear the bill for divorce from the UK would cripple basic rate taxpayers in Scotland.”
Labour’s finance spokesperson, Andy Kerr, said of the report:
“This is a damning reminder of the SNP’s economic madness but we cannot forget that Alex Salmond is using the courts to hide his tax plans from the Scottish public.
“On the big economic decisions, the SNP have called it wrong time and time again and the financial crisis showed how flawed the SNP’s economic approach is. The choice in this election is between two visions for Scotland – Labour’s plan for jobs or the SNP’s plan for independence.”
The SNP laughed off this figure, claiming it was based upon an out-of-date figure of £3.8 billion in the 2010 Government Expenditure & Revenue Scotland (GERS) report.
The Tories and Labour use the £3.8 billion figure, which also reflects capital investment, to claim an income tax rise of 12 pence in Scotland. They then add to this the existing basic rate of income tax of 20p, national insurance contributions of 12p, and the rumoured 4.6p local income tax figure.
An SNP spokesperson said:
“The Tory figures are unutterable garbage – an embarrassing effort from an embarrassing party.
“On the basis of the Tories’ absurd figures, the UK basic rate of income tax would be 63 per cent, and the higher rate would be 83 per cent. And that is before the plans of the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems for a real increase in the real council tax of between £200 and £300.
“Labour’s panic and desperation in this campaign is revealed by the fact that they are actually recycling this Tory garbage – another example of the unholy Labour/Tory alliance.”
People, greens, and votes are the next most prominent in the cloud with the final poll results released and the final televised leadership debate airing last night on STV – both boosting the occurrences of percent along with the taxation debate.
The Scottish Greens launched a final push for the Holyrood election, urging Scots to give the party their second votes on Thursday.
Patrick Harvie said:
“While others have run campaigns based on fear and empty promises, Greens have set out a consistently practical and positive programme for the next parliament. Our campaign has made cast-iron promises on keeping tuition free, on insulating every home in Scotland, and bringing in fairer taxes to cut household bills for most Scots and to invest in our essential public services. The polls suggest that more and more Scots are planning to give their second votes to their local Green candidates on Thursday, and we could be on the brink of winning seats in every region.
Elaborating on the importance of the second vote, he added:
“The second vote is vital. It might not tell you who governs Scotland. But it’ll certainly tell you who they have to govern with. That can only mean one of the coalition parties or the Greens. If you want a Scottish parliament that builds a positive alternative to the coalition’s ideological cuts agenda, only a second vote for the Greens can deliver it.”
Yesterday’s TNS-BRMB poll for STV – released to coincide with the final televised debate – shows the Scottish Greens up from 5 per cent to 8 per cent on the regional list, the best result yet for the party during the 2011 election campaign.
The SNP also welcomed the poll which shows them ahead of Labour in the constituency vote by 18 points. Scottish National Party depute leader and deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“This is an excellent poll – it indicates that people want to re-elect the SNP government and Alex Salmond for first minister because they want to achieve the five-year council tax freeze, protection for Scotland’s health budget, and retention of the 1,000 additional police officers that the SNP have delivered.
Emphasising caution against complacency, she added:
“We are taking nothing for granted. People support our record, team and vision for Scotland – many for the first time – and we will work harder than ever before to achieve the re-election of the SNP Government and Alex Salmond for first minister on Thursday.”
Scottish Labour’s deputy leader Johann Lamont said:
“With over half of all voters undecided how they will vote, this poll show it is all to play for.
“The SNP are arrogantly slapping themselves on the back before a single vote has been cast, but the only poll that matters is polling day and every hour between now and polling day Labour will be fighting for every vote.”
Whereas Liberal Democrat campaign chair George Lyon reflected on his party’s poor scoring – they came in 4th behind the Conservatives – saying:
“Pundits are always interested in polls ahead of elections. What Liberal Democrats are focused on is the poll on 5 May.”