'Key questions' delaying tartan tax statement

Finance secretary John Swinney has said "key questions" on the cost of tax powers must be answered by the UK government before he can make a statement to parliament on the loss of Holyrood's "tartan tax".

The SNP minister is preparing to explain to MSPs this week how ministers temporarily lost the power to alter the 3p Scottish Variable Rate (SVR), voted for by Scots as part of the devolution settlement.

It emerged last week the Scottish Government told UK ministers it was not going to pay Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs 7 million to work on the systems to allow SVR to be used after May's election. Any incoming administration will not be able to use the power until 2013-14.

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Mr Swinney told Scottish Secretary Michael Moore: "I will need to be in a position to inform parliament about the UK government's proposed arrangements for the Calman powers and their financing, given the inextricable link between moving from SVR to Calman that was part of the communication from Scottish Government officials to the HMRC."

Mr Swinney rejected claims the costs of devolution should be met from the Scottish budget, highlighting a Treasury document which states the UK Government should pay.