Alex Rowley MSP : Speech to Labour Party conference

25th. September 2017




24 September 2017

The average Scottish household is £500 worse off since the Tories came to power.

Analysis from Scottish Labour as UK Labour conference begins reveals that average household income today stands at £24,336.

In 2009/10 - the last year before the Tories came to power but in the immediate aftermath of the global financial crisis household income was £24,846.

This is income available to households after taxes, including council tax and income tax, are paid and all benefits and tax credits have been received.

Labour said the figure exposed the Tories economic mismanagement of the UK, and that the tax and benefit changes the Tories have pushed through have not boosted the pay packets of working people.

Scottish Labour leader Alex Rowley said:

"The Tories used to boast about a long term economic plan - in reality Scottish households are over £500 a year worse off.

"A Labour Government, in the immediate aftermath of a global financial crisis, did more to protect living standards that the Tories have.

"Tax cuts for the wealthy and big business may please the Tories around the cabinet table but they do nothing to boost the incomes of working class families.

"Only Labour has a plan to make our country work for the many rather than the privileged few. With a £10 minimum wage, ending the benefits freeze and investing in Scotland through a National Investment Bank to create good quality jobs we can reverse the cost of the Tories.



21 September 2017

Nicola Sturgeon must drop her plan to cut Air Departure Tax, Labour demanded today.

Speaking at First Minister’s Question, interim Labour leader Alex Rowley revealed that the SNP’s plan to cut Air Departure Tax would cost almost twenty times what it proposes to spend on fighting child poverty.

The SNP’s Programme for Government announced a Tackling Child Poverty Fund worth £10 million a year.

However, SNP plans to halve Air Departure Tax will cost £189 million by 2021/22.

Cutting Air Departure Tax is more likely to help higher earners.

Labour’s demand follows Holyrood voting last night to endorse Labour’s principles on income tax, and increases the pressure on the SNP to take a more progressive approach to tax.

Scottish Labour interim leader Alex Rowley said:

“The SNP plans to spend almost twenty times more on a tax cut for frequent flyers than it does on tackling child poverty.

“Halving Air Departure Tax would cost £189 million in a single year compared to £10 million a year on the Tackling Child Poverty Fund.

“Every single time the SNP has a tax decision to make it sides with the millionaires rather than the millions.

“The SNP cannot run away from this debate forever. Nicola Sturgeon must drop this tax cut for the airlines and use the tax powers of the Scottish Parliament to tackle child poverty.



21 September 2017

Responding to tonight’s vote on tax in the Scottish Parliament, Scottish Labour Interim leader Alex Rowley said:

“This is a significant moment ahead of the budget. Parliament has endorsed Labour's basic principles on tax and public spending.

“If we are to protect public services we need to be willing to increase taxation – when push came to shove SNP politicians sat on their hands.

“That simply is not good enough. Scotland deserves better than a government that doesn’t know whether it thinks taxes should go up or down.

"The SNP now must respect the will of parliament. Only Labour's tax plans can stop the cuts and protect public services."




20 September 2017

Responding to John Swinney’s speech on education today, Labour education spokesperson, Iain Gray, said:

“John Swinney is wrong to double down on these reforms, in the face of mounting criticism from teachers, parents, unions and academics.

“We have a schools’ system that has 4,000 fewer teachers and £1.5 billion cut from local authority budgets since 2011. Labour has been clear - Holyrood should use the new powers over tax to increase investment in education.

“John Swinney’s own consultation on reforms agreed with Labour – parents, teachers and unions all agree that we need to see more investment in the system.

“Instead Mr Swinney plans to force the changes no-one wants through parliament - with Tory support.

“We have tried to amend the last two Scottish budgets to that effect and the SNP has voted against our plans.