The National:

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ANAS Sarwar has been accused of yet another “flip flop” – this time over his progressive taxation beliefs.

Cast your mind back to 2017 – years before head honcho Keir Starmer took the helm – when Sarwar threw his hat in to be the next Branch Office leader and sent a letter (below) to then first minister Nicola Sturgeon calling for more “progressive taxation” to fund public services, including a 50% tax rate on those earning above £100,000.

“If I am elected as Scottish Labour leader on November 18 (2017), I will firmly continue with our party's support for progressive taxation,” he wrote.

The National:

Now, Fast forward to 2023 and Finance Secretary Shona Robison has announced one of the “most challenging” Budgets since devolution, amid high inflation and an estimated £1.5 billion financial black hole. 

The Scottish Government has also made a move towards progressive taxation in an attempt to help prevent cuts, increasing taxes for the highest paid including a new tax band for those on a salary between £75,000 and £125,140 – now paying 45%. 

You’d expect scrutiny from an opposition leader – particularly on decisions like slashing the housing budget or the implications of the council tax freeze – but did Sarwar welcome the move he once called for? 

At First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, the now Scottish Labour leader instead went in on funding cuts and Humza Yousaf’s record both as First Minister and in previous ministerial positions. 

READ MORE: Anas Sarwar: Scottish Labour can beat SNP at general election

Sarwar said the SNP had “broken the NHS, broken the justice system, housing system, public finances and public trust”. 

He then went on to call 2023 a “bad year” for the SNP, and asked Yousaf if 2024 would be any better. 

The First Minister fired back: “Time and time again he comes here demanding more money for public services but opposes every single revenue raising power and policy that we bring to this parliament.”

Yousaf then mentioned the infamous letter above, saying: “That’s the Anas Sarwar of 2023. The Anas Sarwar that was touting for the Labour leadership wrote a letter demanding a 50p rate for those who earn 100k. That was before.

“One thing that won’t change in 2024 Anas Sarwar will say one thing one day, and then another thing another day. We know he’s not a serious politician. He waits until he gets the memo from head office.”

Senior minister Neil Gray, meanwhile, called it another "Labour flip flop" - adding: "No one knows what they stand for."

Scottish Labour have been approached for comment.