Sturgeon shoots herself in foot as OWN REPORT admits high-earners may avoid indy Scotland
Gordon Brown explains what ‘independence means’
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The party’s social justice and fairness commission revealed a one-off wealth tax on anyone with assets worth more than £500,000 could be used to help make up some of Scotland’s huge deficit following the coronavirus pandemic. But the report admitted this could trigger “behavioural responses” among the rich, who could be forced to transfer their assets elsewhere. This also conceded there may be “practical difficulties” in the state creating an “inventory of all wealth”, such as cars and jewellery, “and revaluing it annually”.
As part of Scottish independence plans, the blueprint also suggested increasing taxes on higher earners, replacing council tax with a levy based on land value and considering a universal basic income.
The report added: “The commission believes that we should shift the burden of taxation away from productive parts of the economy that we want to encourage, towards areas and activities that we want to discourage.”
The group behind the report was commissioned by Scotland’s First Minister in 2019, with the report wanting to offer a “blueprint to future governments” on key policy areas in the event of Scotland splitting from the Union.
Neil Gray, an SNP MSP and the commission’s deputy convener, insisted the report offers a “route map to a more socially just Scotland” with “policy decisions that can help us build a fairer and happier society.”
He said: “One of the obvious and important lessons learned by producing this report during the period of the coronavirus crisis is that huge changes can be achieved if the political will exists to be bold, dynamic and innovative.
“Alongside all those who contributed to the commission, I believe we have delivered a blueprint, a route map to a more socially just Scotland, one that focuses on how we should make policy decisions that can help us build a fairer and happier society.
“We have focused on issues affecting Scotland that have been particularly prominent and pressing during the pandemic, those that offer the greatest scope for tackling poverty.
“And, while the Commission has merely scratched the surface, the potential that exists to develop policy that delivers our shared ambitions is enormous.
“This report takes the first steps but now there is a need to delve deeply, to develop detail for practical implementation, and to build consensus.”
But the Scottish Conservatives have launched yet another furious attack, warning the report is an uncosted wish-list “based on fantasy economics” that does not consider “the reality that independence would already cost Scottish families thousands of pounds”.
The opposition, led by Douglas Ross, also claimed the analysis contains a host of the SNP Government already had the power to implement.
But the Scottish Tories said they had not followed through with this during the SNP’s 14 years in power in Holyrood.
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Back in 2007, prior to its 2007 Scottish election victory, the SNP had pledged in its manifesto to scrap council tax
Shadow Social Justice Secretary Miles Briggs said: “This wish list from the SNP is not remotely credible. Their election manifesto wasn’t costed and this blueprint for their vision of a future Scotland isn’t either.”
Earlier this month, just days before the Scottish election on May 6, bombshell analysis showed Scotland’s deficit could almost have tripled to 25 percent of GDP as a result of the devastating impacts from the Covid pandemic.
The report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has estimated Scotland’s budget deficit in 2020–21 has spiked at between 22 percent and 25 percent of national income – up from just 8.6 percent the previous year.
The deficit is not as large as projected in the last IFS analysis in August and doesn’t reach the same levels as in Wales or Northern Ireland, but it is still higher than a forecast deficit of 16 percent of national income for the UK as a whole for the same year.
The IFS warned Scotland’s “implicit budget deficit” will fall as public finance effects of the COVID-19 crisis recede.
But this is likely to remain “substantially higher” than for the UK as a whole unless oil revenues bounce back or there is a significant upturn in economic performance.
The think tank said this reflects the “higher levels of public spending per capita – largely for devolved public services – in Scotland, and slightly-lower than average levels of tax revenues per capita than for the UK as a whole”.
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