Graham Hutchison Speech at Conference 2017

Good morning Conference,

In the run up to the 2015 General Election the SNP manifesto said the party would back Labour’s plans for a 50p rate of tax. Nicola Sturgeon stated that she would ensure that Labour delivered real change, instead of their carbon copy of the Tories.

The threat of a Labour-SNP coalition at Westminster certainly did deliver real change, but I’m not sure it was the kind of change that the First Minister expected.

You would have thought this was a prelude to a radical overhaul of taxation in Scotland, just as the SNP has been threatening for years but it was not so. Instead, a weak and ill thought out swipe at the middle classes making Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK was all their unimaginative and intellectually lacking government could deliver.

To say that the SNP is the voice of a coherent strategy for taxation would be a massive understatement. There has not been a tax statement the SNP has not botched. Airport tax, business rates, houses sales tax, the list gets longer with every year of SNP government.

Last year we pitched ourselves as the only credible opposition to the SNP. Not only did the result in May prove just that, in 10 short months our MSP group in Holyrood has already evolved into a alternative government in waiting, with an intellectual rigour the SNP cannot hope to match. One only has to look at any exchange between Murdo Fraser and Derek McKay in the chamber to see that.

Our party can deliver a Scotland that improves prosperity and prosepcts for everyone.

The path to government, and a brighter economic future for Scotland starts with the council elections in less than nine weeks time.

Conference, let’s make it happen.