The logic behind the SNP’s proposals for devolving Corporation Tax can be summed up as follows – ‘Scotland needs more jobs, a reduced Scottish business tax would create jobs, ergo, Scotland should have power of Corporation Tax’.Â
If it was an attempt at a mathematical proof, my old uni lecturer would tell me it was so sieve-like that it’s only good for rinsing potatoes.
No, for me it’s a backwards step and the downsides of Scotland having one (lower) tax take and rUK having another are as follows:
1 – George Osborne is already cutting Corporation Tax so any further reduction north of the border would simply be a race to the bottom. If zero-tax is a terrible idea then too low tax is certainly not a good one.
2 – There is no guarantee that benefits will outweigh the expense. Scotland could be left with a bloated public sector and a lower private tax take with which to finance it. Dare I mention Ireland?
3 – Did we vote for this? The SNP may have a majority at Holyrood but I can’t remember this being discussed. There’s a lot of high-fallutin’ talk about Calman this and autonomy that but paltry tax-raising powers only scraped through with a Yes vote 14 years ago soÂ I just hope ‘the people’ don’t get left behind in these debates and decisions.Â
4 – So much for we’re all in this together. The naked opportunism of this move hardly suggests that Scotland is a team player within the UK. The SNP’s tactics are beginning to sit awkwardly against Cameron’s admittedly occasionally abandoned ‘respect’ agenda.
5 – Scotland should be looking for companies to invest here because they are impressed with Scotland’s skills, workforce, R&D and location, not to mention proud of putting a fair share of profits into society. They shouldn’t be investing here just because there’s a 20% deal going. This isn’t GroupOn.Â Â