He said: “Today’s pre-election Budget represents Labour’s last major missed opportunity of this administration, the Green MSPs today argued.

“Moves towards a “green investment bank” are backed up by a tiny fraction of the money that was used to refloat the existing failed banking system, and the failure to move towards a Tobin Tax, or the similar ‘Robin Hood Tax’, means this measure is now off the agenda for the medium term.

Similarly, Labour Ministers could have reformed the tax and benefits system to make them fairer and less bureaucratic, and to end the scandalous situation which sees the poor paying a higher proportion of their income in tax than the richest in society.

Greens argued that the decision to phase out tax credits for the wealthy shows Labour’s private guilt about the inequality they have presided over, but will do nothing to end it.

The Chancellor has made a big noise about the proposed green investment bank, but less than a quarter of a penny has been allocated to it for every pound put into bailing out the banks last year.

Labour’s priority remains the same: to refloat the same old failed model rather than trying to turn the economy round. They simply do not understand the opportunities that now exist to green the economy, to support jobs that can be sustained for the longer term.

“Similarly, Labour’s plan is to wait for everyone else to act before they bring in a tax on speculators. Presumably the Chancellor has been spooked by the usual City threats that everyone in financial services will leave the country. This is a bluff and always has been.

“Today’s Budget could have been a landmark for Gordon Brown’s administration, but they have failed this final test of their vision, leaving a catalogue of missed opportunities as their legacy.

“Labour have had thirteen years of chances to change Britain, to reform politics, to shift the economy towards the needs of the public and the planet, and to build a freer country. They have failed, and they may never be invited to try again.”

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