United stance

With all respect to Tom Peterkin, his suggestion that the recent televised spat between the SNP’s Kenneth Gibson and the Greens’ Patrick Harvie over the desirability or otherwise of lowering corporation tax represented a fatal flaw in the Yes campaign’s united front is absurd (Perspective, 31 May). As things stand, and even under the supposedly enhanced devolutionary proposals contained in the 2012 Scotland Act, this is a purely academic debate as the Scottish Parliament doesn’t have the basic power either to set the corporation tax rate or to collect its proceeds.

The issue cannot be decided one way or the other at least until after the first post-independence Scottish election in 2016, and even then any initial decision on the matter would be subject to amendment or even repeal at every subsequent Scottish budget in an independent Scotland.

The key taxation issue we have to decide in September 2014, is whether or not the whole taxation system as it affects Scotland should come under the complete control of the Scottish Parliament and its governing party or parties in a coalition or remain under the virtually exclusive control of Westminster, and on that issue Gibson and Harvie stand united.

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In contrast, the Better Together camp is split on the very constitutional issue at the heart of the referendum debate – namely, the question of whether or not our parliament needs more powers if it is to fulfil the aspirations that accompanied its inauguration in 1999. On the one hand, the Liberal Democrats pay lip-service to the concept of “federal Home Rule”, the Labour Party is at sixes and sevens and Lord Forsyth, the last Tory Scottish Secretary, is even prepared to contemplate the withdrawal of powers already conceded on the back of a decisive No vote.


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