Bill Butler: The SNP could have stopped Tory austerity. They didn't.

John Swinney could have used the powers of the Parliament to stop cuts to local authorities. He didn't.

I joined hundreds of colleagues from across the Labour movement outside the Scottish Parliament to demand that John Swinney and the SNP government use the powers of the Parliament to stop the cuts, protect jobs and services and put the brakes on tory austerity.

It was a bitter disappointment when they passed a budget that simply passed on cuts from Westminster, straight to our local communities. Glasgow alone has to find £133million worth of savings.

Scottish Labour had a plan, and has a vision, to stop these cuts and protect those services. By using the powers of our parliament, to raise income tax 1p in the pound, we could have averted these drastic cuts to communities. Our policy is progessive - analysis after analysis has shown that to be true - and it is redistributive. Our plan would ensure that no-one earning under £20,000 a year would be worse off. In fact, the rebate delivered by local government would make the poorest in our society better off. 

In short, those with the broadest shoulders would bear the biggest burden.

But the SNP chose to dismiss Labour's bold plan. Instead they stood with the Tories and described it as a tax grab, and in the Parliament, the Presiding Officer refused to accept any amendments to the budget at all.

Our plan is progressive, it is fair and it is just. But instead, the SNP chose to ignore our plea, and pass on these horrendous cuts to the most vulnerable in our society. Scotland deserves a Government that walks the walk, and doesn't just talk the talk.