Tax rises ‘put investment at risk’
TAX rises forced through by the Scottish Government will put investment in Scotland at risk, the UK Trade Policy Minister has warned.
Greg Hands said he fears making Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK will lead to investors putting their money elsewhere.
He made the comments as the Board of Trade met in Stirling to unveil a scheme to attract more than £2billion of investment to Scottish companies.
Last month, a ‘tax gap’ opened up between Scotland and the rest of the UK after the SNP’s decision to force Scots earning £26,000 or above to pay more than those south of the Border.
Mr Hands said: ‘Scotland now diverging on tax is not helpful for the Scottish economy and doesn’t send the right message to foreign investors.
‘Foreign investors are looking for low rates of tax, competitive rates of tax. If the Scottish Government has chosen to have higher rates of tax, that is unlikely to make Scotland more attractive to foreign investors.’
Mr Hands also urged the Scottish Government to get back around the table to discuss the EU Withdrawal Bill, and warned that Holyrood’s decision to refuse to back the legislation could cause uncertainty which ‘can have an effect on things like trade’.
Chancellor Philip Hammond was also in Scotland yesterday to meet financial services firms in Edinburgh, which he described as ‘world-leading’.
He said: ‘Over a million people across the country are employed in our financial services sector.
‘It fuels growth across the regions and is a vibrant part of our economy.’