IN HER last FMQs Nicola Sturgeon claims it is “unfair” for people to pay more tax in Scotland than in England (not true if we get better public services in return) and that higher rate taxpayers will move themselves and/or their money out the country if the upper tax band is reintroduced (an argument used during the referendum and sneered at by the Yes campaign).
In the 2015 election the SNP pledged full fiscal autonomy and an end to austerity. With the evaporation of oil revenues and no desire to raise more money through taxation if Scotland was independent or had full fiscal autonomy we would either be facing perma-austerity or deep in debt. Alex Salmond’s response is to start an argument on what currency an independent Scotland would use.
What does he want to argue about? Whether his imagined Scotland would have an extra deficit of £15 billion or e22 billion or 100 trillion Scottish groats once the hyper-inflation kicks in?
(Dr) SJ Clark
Easter Road, Edinburgh
Alex Salmond is becoming a nightmare from which you never wake up.
In wanting to revisit the currency argument in the event of an independent Scotland, Mr Salmond is dutifully following his leader in her “initiative” to look again at independence, announced earlier.
But how daft does he think we are?
Eighteen months ago, the Scottish people took the “once in a lifetime” decision against independence.
An independent Scotland wanting to join the EU, with the highest deficit in Europe and twice that of the UK, will either be required to join the euro or impose fiscal criteria of unheard-of severity on Scotland. Mr Salmond says the currency argument needs “refurbishment”.
This is sleight of hand – as is Nicola Sturgeon’s curious choice of refusing middle income families the Chancellor’s tax break while rejecting a 50p rate on those earning incomes of £150,000 or more.
Still, I suppose one out of two isn’t bad – unlike Labour and the LibDems, whose tax proposals threaten demand in the economy.
Salisbury Terrace, Aberdeen
Nicola Sturgeon has said she rejects Labour’s proposal to raise the top rate of tax to 50 per cent as she fears a flight of high-earning executives from Scotland.
Yet there is no evidence to support this theory that people will leave. Would anyone really change jobs, leave friends and family, move house with all the costs that would involve, give up free university fees, and move to a different country where the taxes – local and national – and the cost of living could well be higher.
And let’s face it, life would be just that little bit more dull. Just to save a few quid. Pull the other one Nicola.
Increasing the top rate to 50 per cent is asking those with the broadest shoulders to help, and help in particular young people in our schools, colleges and universities.
Grange Loan, Edinburgh