Eddie Barnes (Perspective, 25 September) asks what “levers of power” will be pulled, tugged or maybe just tweaked by Holyrood’s SNP to pay for reducing the Scottish inequality gap (Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s favourite theme).
Interest groups reportedly seem to suggest that raising more tax from higher value houses would be good, plus “more powerful levers” such as helping to pay for substantially increased unemployment benefits by raising top rates of income tax to 56 per cent.
Many concerned citizens have been wondering what redistribution of assets and incomes was coming.
In the face of the ongoing and inevitably increasing national deficit as the oil revenues run down, it is hard to see how anything other than garnisheeing the “better-offs’” money could help those less fortunate through no fault of their own, but where does this stop?
Colin Mason and Ross Brown (Perspective, same day) emphasise the paucity of large Scottish companies which generate revenues, and worry about the frequent sale of developing fledgling technology companies to non-Scots.
We need a clear most-reasonable-scenario analysis of the financial movements associated with redistribution in the absence of other revenues.
It always seems an oddity that Holyrood can afford to direct the freezing of council taxes, have free university tuition, subsidised care and free bus travel for some, which benefit the better-off disproportionately, but not to help those more needy.
Money has been found for bridges, road – and railway – construction, new schools and hospitals, cycling funds, Gaelic, Curriculum for Excellence support, etc, so Holyrood is hardly broke with the Barnett formula.