SOME politicians like to pretend that we can have public services like the best European social democracies while paying only rock-bottom taxes as the most unequal, right-wing countries do.

The Scottish Greens have always been honest and said that the way to pay for our vital public services has to involve tax reform.

Nationally we’ve been doing just that.

Scotland has seen income tax changes led by the Scottish Greens, where public services like the NHS and anti-poverty measures like the groundbreaking Scottish Child Payment are better off to the tune of £1.5 billion every year.

We’ve done this by making sure that it’s the well-off who pay a bit more, while people on low and average incomes are protected.

We need to do the same thing locally.

Scotland has some of the most centralised and least empowered councils in Europe, and that stops local communities like ours from being able to make their own choices about how to raise money, and where to spend it.

Now, that is starting to change. New powers are coming to local councils, with more on the horizon, and I hope Glasgow will choose to use them.

Late last year it was announced that local authorities would have the power to double council tax on second homes, helping to deal with the huge housing shortage not only in Glasgow, but across the country.

Housing is a human right and we should all be able to access good quality and affordable homes. With bold steps like this we will shift the balance away from second home ownership and free up more homes for those who really need them.

The opportunity to introduce a visitor levy on hotel and overnight accommodation is good news for a tourist magnet like Glasgow too, and it will bring the same kind of benefits that so many other cities around the world have already enjoyed. As a city renowned for hosting world-class events, with more than two million tourists visiting every year, Glasgow is uniquely positioned to reinvest levies back into the very fabric of the city.

It can help mitigate the impact huge numbers of tourists have on our city and increase the quality of services the council offers. Everything from increasing street cleaning, investing in public realm infrastructure and parks as well as providing more accessible and free public toilets.

Glasgow can also push to implement a city-wide workplace parking levy, and use the money raised to support better bus services, improving their accessibility and affordability across the region. Edinburgh City Council has started this consultation process and we should seize this opportunity here too so we’re not left behind.

Ultimately, we need to go further though. Scottish Greens have been clear about our commitment to replace the archaic and unfair council tax and the Scottish Budget will set out the next steps in doing that.

By radically reforming our tax system and devolving funding powers to local government, we can invest in our communities, tackle inequality and build a better, greener Glasgow.