Nicola Sturgeon has sold out the people who need her most by imposing hundreds of millions of pounds of cuts to schools and local public services, Kezia Dugdale said today.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, the Scottish Labour Leader said the SNP’s vote against her plan to use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to stop cuts means they have been found out.

Earlier this week Kezia Dugdale set out a plan to set the Scottish rate of income tax 1p higher than that set by George Osborne. This would mean the hundreds of millions of pounds of cuts proposed by the SNP Government’s budget for 2016/17 could be avoided. To ensure low income taxpayers receive a boost, a £100 payment would be introduced for those earning less than £20,000. This would be administered by local authorities. Council leaders across Scotland have confirmed this is possible.

Experts and trade unions have also said using the income tax power is a progressive measure as the richest would pay the most. Even SNP Minister John Swinney has previously described it as progressive.

Yesterday, the SNP and the Tories stood ‘shoulder to shoulder’ to vote against Labour’s plan to stop the cuts.

Kezia Dugdale said:

“Nicola Sturgeon has built her career on telling us that more powers mean fewer cuts, yet she refuses to use the powers when it really matters. She has staked her reputation on improving education, yet she cuts school budgets rather than using the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

Nicola Sturgeon has sold herself as the radical alternative to Tory austerity, but yesterday she sold out the people who need her most.

At the stroke of a pen the First Minister could stop the hundreds of millions of pounds worth of cuts and thousands of job losses, but faced with the choice between using the powers of this Parliament and hundreds of millions of pounds of cuts she chose austerity.

After this week people across Scotland are left asking why Nicola Sturgeon won’t just use her power to do the right thing.”