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SNP conference hears call for windfall tax on big business

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SNP conference hears call for windfall tax on big business

The UK Government has been urged to consider a windfall tax for those businesses which have benefited during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SNP MSP Shona Robison, speaking as chair of the party’s social justice and fairness commission, told conference on Sunday that recovery from the pandemic must be “socially just”.

And she argued businesses who have profited most during the pandemic must contribute to the economic recovery.

She said: “I believe it is essential that those businesses which have benefited the most through the pandemic also contribute to recovery, with the focus of that recovery on supporting those individuals and families who have been impacted most.

“So instead of freezing public sector pay, scrapping the proposed increase to the national minimum wage and failing to extend the £20 uplift to universal credit, the UK Government must instead look to those with the broadest shoulders and consider a windfall tax on those businesses’ which have seen excess profits during the pandemic, raising much needed revenues to help ensure a fairer and more socially just recovery from this pandemic.”

A YouGov poll earlier this year found more than half of people in the UK would support an excess profits tax on any company which has seen profits rise significantly above their normal levels during the pandemic.

The idea enjoyed slightly more support (at 56 per cent) among respondents to the survey in Scotland.

The Scottish Greens proposed putting a windfall tax in place earlier this month as a tool to support smaller businesses who have struggled with lockdown and opening restrictions.

Mark Ruskell MSP said: “Our local high streets were already in trouble, but COVID restrictions are killing them off for good. Retailers in Tier 4 areas in particular will struggle during what is usually the most profitable time of the year. A windfall tax could be a useful tool to ensure that there is more support for the businesses that are being crippled by this pandemic.”

The SNP’s social justice and fairness commission was established by Nicola Sturgeon to consider how to tackle issues like poverty and inequality in an independent Scotland.

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