Labour still don’t seem to understand Scotland’s finances

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Martin Redfern’s praise for Kezia Dugdale’s “honesty” over Labour’s taxation plans (Letters, 3 November) is rather misplaced as Labour in Scotland is economically illiterate when they claim that not cutting Air Passenger Duty (APD) would release millions to pay for replacing tax credit cuts as when APD is devolved the Scottish block grant will be reduced by an equivalent amount.

Also, Ms Dugdale failed to point out that, under the limited Scotland Bill provisions, any increase in the highest income tax means that all tax bands have to be increased by a proportionate amount.

Apart from the fact that constitutional experts such as Professor Alan Trench have pointed out that there are no devolved legislative powers to restore tax credit cuts which are administered by the Department for Work and Pensions, financial experts reckon that only £8 million a year would be raised from those paying the 50p tax to mitigate the loss of some £440m for lower paid working families in Scotland.

Therefore, it’s a great pity that Ian Murray and other Labour MPs merely abstained on 20 July rather than vote against the tax credit cuts and voted against more meaningful financial and welfare powers to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

It is incredibly clear that Labour still haven’t a clue over Scotland’s finances or economy as their tax and welfare plans can’t be delivered under the promised “Vow” in 2017 and clearly not until such time as we have full fiscal autonomy or a proper federal system or independence.

Fraser Grant

Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh

Well done, Kezia Dugdale and Scottish Labour for promising to reverse the Tory cuts to tax credits. Austerity is a choice, not a necessity.

These cuts are not needed to deal with the budget deficit. The proposed increase in the top rate of income tax, from 45 per cent to 50 per cent, on taxable income above £150,000, is right so that the burden is shared more fairly, and also shows they are on the side of working families and the lowest paid.

What a contrast to the SNP, whose tax policies are beginning to resemble the Tories.

The cut in Air Passenger Duty will benefit those who can afford to buy air tickets, and particularly companies. Scottish finance secretary John Swinney’s proposal to give councils the power to cut business rates is exactly what the Tories are doing south of the Border.

Phil Tate

Craiglockhart Road, Edinburgh,

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