FM quizzed as public cash goes to low-tax firms
Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of throwing stones in a glass house after the leak of the Paradise Papers.
The First Minister last week hit out at the UK Government’s approach to tackling tax avoidance and evasion, claiming its record was a matter of “regret and shame”.
But Tory finance spokesman Murdo Fraser yesterday highlighted how the Scottish Government gave millions of pounds worth of grants to retail giant Amazon, which has come under fire for how little tax it pays in the UK.
Mr Fraser said: “Nicola Sturgeon needs to put her house in order before she starts criticising others.
“She was a member of the SNP Government which gave £10 million in grants and assistance to Amazon to set up a fulfilment centre in Dunfermline, notwithstanding the questionable record that company has when it comes to tax.”
He added: “The public concern around the Paradise Papers is understandable but it is important to put all of this into context because the reality is that the UK’s record when it comes to reducing tax avoidance is a sound one.”
Ms Sturgeon last week urged parties across Holyrood to back her call for full devolution of powers over tax avoidance and evasion to Scotland, to enable the “crackdown people want” following the Paradise Papers scandal.
HMRC estimates showed the Treasury lost £6.9 billion through tax evasion in 2015/16 and the UK Government has been criticised for the number of job cuts at the tax collecting agency.
Labour’s James Kelly has called for ministers to cancel public contracts where companies have been shown to have participated in tax avoidance.
Amazon in Dunfermline