‘Scots poor will suffer’ if independent nation follows Nordic model

SCOTS have been warned that if Alex Salmond pushes ahead with his plans to put an independent Scotland on a “Nordic model” it could mean much higher taxes which hit the poorest and the country’s competitiveness.

An independence prospectus being drawn up by the civil servants for the SNP ministers, which was leaked over the weekend, revealed that Mr Salmond wants Scotland to be run in a similar way to Norway and Sweden.

And while the document only discussed defence, the implication was that it would also later go into social and taxation modelling.

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In the two main Nordic states, a high service provision is paid for through much higher taxation than in the UK. In Sweden VAT is 25 per cent while food, exempt from VAT in the UK, is taxed at 12 per cent. Corporation tax is 26 per cent and income tax can reach 60 per cent. In Norway VAT is 25 per cent, VAT on food 14 per cent and corporation tax is 28 per cent.

This compares to UK VAT of 20 per cent, none on food and corporation tax at 20 per cent.

Lib Dem Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore, said: “If the SNP want us to look to the Scandinavian example then they have to look at all the facts.

“The tax rates there are much higher than the current situation in the UK. Would they be recommending that we move to that sort of tax regime?

“Are they saying that Scots should be paying anything up to 60 per cent in income tax and 12 or 14 per cent VAT on food where they currently pay none?”

The Scottish Government refused to be drawn on the issue of how high taxation would be in an independent Scotland.

A spokesman for finance secretary John Swinney said: “In financial terms we will benefit from no longer subsidising the UK Treasury.”