Letter: Taxing issues

The news that - according to the Lloyds TSB Scotland Business Monitor - the Scottish economy is showing signs of improvement is welcome (your report, 17 June).

That is the upside, but it is only half the story. There is also a downside. Under the terms of Labour's devolution settlement, all taxation generated in Scotland (except for the proceeds from business rates and council tax) is shipped off to the UK Exchequer, as had happened prior to devolution.

So, with a static economy, we are deprived of the use of the tax proceeds; when there is economic growth we lose even more of these proceeds. Yet, Scotland is regarded as an identifiable economic unit with a measurable GDP. First Minister Alex Salmond and the SNP are castigated for picking fights with "London", but on this issue they are right, but they did not chose the ground.

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Given that they are powerless to stop the Scotland Bill, their tacit support for it is a strategic move on their part.

It is apparent that the Calman proposal is one of many deliberate barriers aimed at blocking any future autonomy for Scotland's funding.

Only when we have full fiscal autonomy, with powers to manipulate our tax regime appropriately, and to retain the proceeds of taxes raised here, will there be any prospect of realistic economic progress with knock-on benefits for business, for the public sector, and for the Scottish people.


Thomson Crescent

Currie, Midlothian