Ni ola Sturgeon and her ministers have spent their entire political lives claiming they want to make different decisions to the Tories.

But when that option is available to them, time and time again the SNP have shied away from the radical alternatives that our country needs.

Their true colours were on display at the party’s annual conference in Glasgow.

Derek Mackay, the most powerful Finance Secretary in Scotland’s history, said the SNP would take a different approach to the Tories when it comes to income tax levels – “albeit marginal”.

I didn’t get into politics just to make “marginal” differences to the Tories. But it is now clear that that is all the SNP are brave enough to do, despite their grandstanding.

Not only is it political cowardice from Mr Mackay, it is a dereliction of duty and a kick in the teeth to voters who backed the SNP in the belief the party would provide a left-wing alternative to the right-wing Tory Government at Westminster.

Anyone who still believes the SNP are a progressive party now knows the hard truth.

Only Scottish Labour have a plan to end Tory austerity.

The Scottish Parliament have the power to stop cuts to public services – if the SNP are bold enough to use them.

But Mr Mackay’s announcement means that public services now face swingeing cuts when he publishes their budget later this year. Labour will table amendments to the Scottish budget for a 50p top rate of tax for those earning over £150,000 a year so we can invest in schools, and a penny for public services.

That, Mr Mackay, is doing something radically different to the Tories.

It is not good enough for Mr Mackay and Nicola Sturgeon to sit back when they can stop these cuts and invest in our public services instead.

Without a majority in the Scottish Parliament, they will have to work with other parties.

So SNP MSPs now have a clear choice. They can work with Labour to invest in our public services or they can accept a Tory budget from Westminster.

Voters will not forgive the SNP if they meekly accept the Tory cuts or – worse – continue to make deeper cuts than those imposed by David Cameron and Theresa May.

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