A guest post by Samuel Miller
Look, I know some readers may want to hear some hugely technical and in-depth feedback on yesterday’s budget, but that’s not really going to happen m’kay? Seein’ as how I am to budgets, what Shrek is to ballet, I reckon its best to leave that one to the experts. However, I can sum up the proceedings in short order and NO, you don’t need a master’s degree in economics to follow what happened.
The SNP government did what they pretty much said they were going to do in their manifesto with the higher rate, which was…wait for it… nothing.
“We will not implement the tax cut proposed by the Tories through the increase in the Higher Rate threshold. Instead, we will freeze the Higher Rate threshold in real terms in 2017/18 and increase it by a maximum of inflation until 2021/22. We will set out the exact level of the Higher Rate threshold each year in the budget process.” SNP 2016 Manifesto
Freezing a tax IS NOT hiking a tax. That of course hasn’t stopped the Conservative party from trying to sell it as such, but then this is a party not terribly well-known for its honesty at best of times. Oh, and sections of oor meeja haven’t covered themselves in glory on that point either.
Ruth Davidson apparently had the mother and father of all car crash FMQs with an embarrassment factor which may have reached all the way up to toe curling (ooft!). Finally, this from Reform Scotland who put it far more succinctly and with less swerry wurds than I would:
‘BACKGROUND… on tax
The Scotland Act 2012 devolved 10p of income tax across all bands to the Scottish Parliament (the Scottish Rate of Income Tax). This comes into effect from 2016/17. The proposed Scotland Bill 2015/16 will devolve the rest of income tax to Scotland, in addition to Air Passenger Duty and Aggregates Levy (we have not included any assigned revenue from VAT as control over the tax has not been devolved).
However, despite this, the Scottish Parliament will control less than 30% of all tax income raised in Scotland.
More importantly, 71% of all tax revenue raised by the Scottish Parliament will come from a single source – Income Tax.
Reform Scotland believes that with tax income so overly reliant on a single tax, it is likely to be impossible to introduce coherent tax reform that would encourage economic growth. It is a blunt tool, and therefore further devolution is required.’
In short, why would the Scottish Government fall into the ridiculous tax bear trap laid out by a Tory government in the Scotland Bill settlement? Why would a Scottish Government pass on the effects of austerity ideology and the Brexit galactostooshie brought about by the actions of successive UK governments, unless and until it had absolutely no other options to hand? Why should the Scottish electorate constantly pay for the screw ups of central government and why oh why should the devolved government in Holyrood constantly have to mitigate and offset? Because Ruth and Kezia say so? Is that it?
So much for the current Conservative and Labour meme of ‘no more excuses’. I’d like to know what Ruth and Kezia’s excuse is for constantly demanding that their own electorate pay for their head office’s lemming like predilection for clown footed political and economic idiocy? Would make for an interesting read. ‘Most powerful devolved parliament in the world’…..(mutters)
It’s always what’s not reported well by the press which may have the biggest impact isn’t it? Take the other day for example. It turns out that Scotland’s former First Minister, Alicsammin (TM), had a short meeting with one Jean-Claude Junker, President of the European Commission. That would be the commission which has just been put in charge of Brexit talks I believe. This of course, was prior to a function where Mr Salmond received the inaugural Mauritis Coppieters award for services to Scotland in Europe. In fact, as far as I know, only one title saw fit to make the event front page news.
A direct quote from Mr Junker: “Scotland has earned the right to be heard and listened to”
Now bearing in mind both the EU’s stance on pre negotiation over Brexit and the UK government’s stance on Scotland, devolution, Brexit consultation and pretty much everything else? I’m sure the reader can reach their own conclusions on what that may mean. It’s also worth noting that on the world stage, words by ‘serious’ senior political figures are chosen very, very carefully indeed.
The award ceremony speech didn’t miss an’ hit the wa’ either and if the reader has a moment to spare, it’s perhaps worth listening to what Mr Salmond had to say:
Remember those heady days when some folks guffawed at the very idea of Scottish Government visitations to the various EU bodies post Brexit vote? Aye, they thought that meeting officials on varying panels and committees was quite the laugh. I mean it’s not as if they were heads of state or anything, right? In fact, remember those now far off indyref days where policy wonks and meeja metro types queued up to spin anything and everything uttered by an EU official into an indy bad article? AND NOW?
Near deafening silence.
Perhaps, just perhaps, those efforts by the current Scottish Government on our behalf weren’t wasted after all?