When Labour announced the Pre-Budget Report the SNP immediate reaction was to snipe about the cuts that would end up being made to the Scottish budget. That is the reaction of opposition not Government, and here comes the rub. We are in a recession, not just in the UK but also in Scotland. Therefore the ability to raise taxes, whilst stimulating the economy and keeping up levels of spending is difficult. If Salmond doubts that he should ask any person trying to make ends meet on a tight budget.
Today Tavish Scot has offered a hand to ensure the 2010-11 budget passes. Many across the country have taken pay cuts either in actual terms or real terms over the last year just to survive. Many of these have been on the lower pay levels and took the cut to ensure that their bills would continue to be paid, after all a job is better than no job. Yet at the top end of the scale the people who have some responsibility for the budgets, the policies the initiatives that we have gotten into are insistent on maintaining the level of pay increase they have become accustomed to.
The proposal is simple, cut the pay for the top earners working for quangos, health boards, councils, universities and government agencies by 5%. By doing so it protests the pay of those working in the front line and frees up some money to maintain other budgets. As Tavish said:
"We need to see the highest paid across Scotland in the public sector taking their fair share of the financial pain that we are all in.
"And we want to make sure that we protect people on the lowest incomes working in the public sector by taking something out of the top level."
As I blogged earlier it was the question that Tavish raised with the First Minister on Thursday. There are 1,200 in NHS Scotland alone earning over £100,000.