FM quizzed as pub­lic cash goes to low-tax firms

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - NEWS -

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.