Taxes cost votes

A PROBLEM with raising Scottish income tax rates is that many of the richer denizens would be able to claim a residence south of the Border and move their tax affairs there. That along with the way the legislation on tax rates is structured would mean that it would fall disproportionately on the poorer members of society.

As David Maddox pointed out (your report, 8 June) a previous attempt to suggest using the existing powers to increase income tax by 1p at a prior election led to a heavy defeat. Also back in 1992 when Labour suggested raising income tax during the election, the Tories had a surprise victory.

The real problem with our fiscal policy is the waste in government spending. The defence budget for 2015-16 is more than £43 billion (the sixth largest in the world) and when you add in the extra spending routed through other departments such as the Home Office, it is probably nearer £48bn, of which Scotland’s share is around £4bn.

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Much of Westminster defence spending is of little use to Scotland and an independent Scotland would, when compared to other similar countries, need to spend much less. Ireland is spending around €885m a year until 2017 (£650.8m, or 0.39 per cent of GDP). It would seem the notional figure of 2 per cent has little reality with regard to defence spending in more sensible countries.

Perhaps Deputy First Minister John Swinney should suggest to Chancellor George Osborne that Scotland would like around £3.2bn reduction in our share of defence. That would more than cover the shortfall in other areas. Of course, an independent Scotland would not have to ask.

Bruce D Skivington


Gairloch, Wester Ross