Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Scotland's Tax Raising/Lowering Powers
The Unionists are having a ball here in Scotland accusing the SNP government of 'lapsing' the tax raising powers which were included in the 1999 devolution referendum.
I've been accused of staying silent on the matter, although I received an apology because the title of my post didn't refer to it. It's not the first time I've been pilloried by Scottish bloggers who don't take the trouble to read through my posts but prefer to read the title and, perhaps, the first paragraph but I do appreciate this one had the courtesy to apologise.
This is unionist electioneering at its best, accusing the nationalist government for 'betraying' the Scottish people. What utter nonsense and they know it.
Had the Scottish people have been informed that the cost of having 3p varying tax raising powers would have stretched into millions then I'm sure they would have decided against it. For the referendum most thought that a Yes Yes vote would ensure that we secured our own Parliament. That's what was most important and the second question regarding tax raising powers was more or less irrelevant. To ensnare any Scottish government into a £12 million down payment for this political absurd idea in 1999, followed by £50,000 per year until 2007 when the contract terminated is an atrocity on behalf of those who designed the Scotland Act.
The tax raising powers haven't lapsed. The legislation is enshrined in the Scotland Act 1998 Part V and therefore still available until Parliament vote for it to be deleted. Therefore the SNP government have not 'given away' any powers, they have decided not to pay the UK treasury for something which we all know will never be used.
Should the SNP government have informed Parliament of their decision? It would appear they wrote to the UK government in the summer asking the reasons why the HMRC were requesting £7 million to keep the legislation alive and they've had no response.
John Swinney is to face the Finance Committee tomorrow. My thought is that he won't be signing a cheque made out to HMRC for £7 million just to keep a system alive, when the UK government intend to introduce new legislation within a matter of weeks, but I have no doubt he will show the Unionists and the Greens are purely electioneering and he won't be apologising for not informing Parliament either as the issue is still ongoing with the Westminster parliament. That's politics.