The con­cept of a sep­a­rate tax regime for Scot­land is far from new

The Herald - - OPINION -

R JOHN­STON (Let­ters, Jan­uary 12) sug­gests that Scot­land’s “eco­nomic needs are joined at the hip with those south of the Bor­der” in tak­ing Iain AD Mann (Let­ters, Jan­uary 10) to task for think­ing that Scot­land’s “eco­nomic needs are so dif­fer­ent from the rest of the of the UK that we should de­mand a dif­fer­ent and spe­cial sta­tus”.

A dif­fer­ent or spe­cial sta­tus for Scot­land is, though, not a new thought. For in­stance, in a House of Com­mons de­bate in March 1967 it was said by a Scot­tish MP that there were UK-wide poli­cies which he be­lieved were hin­der­ing the economies of de­vel­op­ment ar­eas, whether in Scot­land or other parts of the UK, and asked for the gov­ern­ment of the day to adopt dif­fer­ent tax regimes and dif­fer­ent poli­cies in the dif­fer­ent ar­eas of the United King­dom.

That Scot­tish MP was none other than Ge­orge Younger, then Con­ser­va­tive MP for Ayr, and later Sec­re­tary of State for Scot­land.

If Mr John­ston and Lord Younger are right then if our eco­nomic needs are “joined at the hip” with a state whose poli­cies “hin­der” our eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, per­haps Scot­land would do well to re­con­sider just how it pur­sues its eco­nomic needs? Alas­dair Gal­loway, 14 Sil­ver­ton Av­enue, Dum­bar­ton. YOUR ar­ti­cle on the pro­ceed­ings at Holy­rood’s Fi­nance Com­mit­tee (“SNP to bor­row up to £3bn for in­fra­struc­ture”, The Her­ald, Jan­uary 12) was a very wel­come read, in­di­cat­ing a great boost to the econ­omy and em­ploy­ment.

On read­ing this ar­ti­cle it came to light that this fig­ure of £3 bil­lion would come about only if the pro­posed bor­row­ing through the pow­ers of the Scot­land Act 2016 were con­tin­ued till year 2023/24.

How­ever, I did have a slight grin when I read of the Con­ser­va­tive Murdo Fraser MSP ques­tion­ing the fu­ture fi­nan­cial com­pe­tency of the SNP in gov­ern­ment at Holy­rood.

Would that be the same SNP Gov­ern­ment at Holy­rood which has bal­anced the books for the last 10 years and which hase taken a pro­gres­sive ap­proach to tax­a­tion in Scot­land with a lower thresh­old for higher earn­ers? Ca­tri­ona C Clark, 52 Hawthorn Drive, Ban­knock, Falkirk. RUTH Marr (Let­ters, Jan­uary 12) talks about the per­ceived right to hold an­other ref­er­en­dum since things didn’t go our way in the Brexit vote, con­ve­niently ig­nor­ing the fact that we haven’t the slight­est hope of do­ing a pri­vate deal with Europe no mat­ter what the out­come from the ne­go­ti­a­tions. She high­lights the con­fu­sion at West­min­ster while also ig­nor­ing the com­plete mess the SNP have cre­ated on the far less com­plex is­sue of the trauma cen­tres where in­suf­fi­cient con­sul­ta­tion has been car­ried out (“SNP un­der fire as trauma units de­layed by three years”, The Her­ald, Jan­uary 12). The plans for this ini­tia­tive have ended up as a dog’s break­fast and this out­come is typ­i­cal of the SNP’s ap­proach to gov­ern­ment where Ni­cola Stur­geon has sur­rounded her­self with “spe­cial­ist” ad­vi­sors at the ex­clu­sion of con­sul­ta­tion with those at the grass roots. I would gen­uinely love to have an in­de­pen­dent Scot­land but I fear for this coun­try if the SNP re­mains in power.

The Tory Gov­ern­ment made an­other mon­u­men­tal mis­take in hav­ing the Brexit vote in the first place just to ap­pease David Cameron’s back­benchers. There is no way any­one could ever have pro­vided enough in­for­ma­tion to al­low us to have made an in­formed choice. We were the first coun­try to vote to leave the EU and we have walked into a black hole.

Ms Marr makes the point that 62 per cent of the Scot­tish elec­torate voted to stay in Europe, a sim­i­lar per­cent­age of which are not in favour of in­de­pen­dence. Now that we have some idea of the mag­ni­tude of the sit­u­a­tion, it is my view that if we held an­other Brexit ref­er­en­dum that fig­ure would com­fort­ably re­flect the UK as a whole. Where would that put Ms Stur­geon’s pledge? On the scrapheap along with the Cur­ricu­lum for Ex­cel­lence and so many other poli­cies which have been cob­bled to­gether by the SNP. An­drew Weir, Broom­ley Drive, Giffnock.

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