Scottish Labour has challenged the other parties to match their anti-austerity public spending pledge.

With tax the central issue of the Scottish election, Labour said parties had to spell out how they would use the new powers to break from Tory austerity.

Under Labour’s anti-austerity pledge spending on public services will increase between the Scottish election and the next UK general election.

Labour will take different choices on tax, including reversing George Osborne’s tax cut for the top 1% and cancelling the SNP’s plans to halve and then abolish air passenger duty.

Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale said:

“Tax is the defining debate in this election, and now it’s time for each of the parties to set out how they would use the new powers to stop the cuts.

Our plans mean we can make an anti-austerity pledge – a guarantee that spending on services will rise under a Scottish Labour Government. It’s now up to other parties to match that.

We can stop the cuts and take a different path from Tory austerity. The SNP’s tax plans will turn the Scottish Parliament into a conveyor belt for Tory austerity.

Under Labour the poorest won’t pay a penny more than they do now and will be protected from cuts with Labour. With the SNP those at the top won’t pay a penny more than they do now and the poorest will pay the price with deeper cuts.

Nicola Sturgeon refuses to use the new tax powers to stop the cuts and protect public services. The SNP have been reduced to making excuses for not asking the richest 1% to pay a single penny more.

The SNP need to be honest – they cannot protect public services whilst not raising more tax. Faced with a choice between using the powers of the Parliament to invest in the future or carrying on with the SNP’s cuts, Labour will use the powers.”