Tax powers committee gets details of SNP case

FURTHER details of the Scottish Government's case for full financial responsibility have been lodged with MSPs investigating changes to devolution.

The documents were published as finance secretary John Swinney was today due to answer questions from the Scotland Bill committee, which is scrutinising proposals including a new Scottish income tax.

The latest papers outline a series of ministerial meetings and correspondence to the Treasury.

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A document also sets out the position on financial responsibility short of independence.

All taxes, with the exception of VAT, would be set in Scotland and, from these revenues, Scotland would pay Westminster for UK services such as defence and foreign policy. Edinburgh would control 85 per cent of Scottish tax revenues, compared with the present Westminster control of 93 per cent under the plan.

The paper highlights the experience of other small European countries, where there was average economic growth of 2.7 per cent over 30 years to 2008 compared with 1.9 per cent in Scotland.

"The experience of these countries demonstrates the benefit of being able to tailor the full spectrum of economic policy to reflect their specific strengths," the paper adds.

The Holyrood session follows a series of exchanges between Bill supporters and critics - including academics on both sides of the fiscal argument.

The row deepened when Scottish Secretary Michael Moore said the Scottish Government had not provided detailed proposals on alternatives to the bill, which is based on the Calman Commission's recommendations on improving devolution.

His comments prompted First Minister Alex Salmond to complain that Mr Moore had given a misleading account of the Scottish Government's approach.