Thursday, 4 December 2003

Scotland and taxation

We all know that Scots are inveterate lovers of big government and taxation, don't we? Let's look at Table 3 on a new survey published by the Reform think tank:
"I would be willing to pay more tax to increase spending on public services"
Percentage agreeing:
UK50% Scotland 57%

So the Scots do want more taxation than the average person in the UK, and by a margin of 7%.

But now look at this question:

"If the government reformed public services and cut waste it could make services better and reduce tax at the same time"
Percentage agreeing:
UK 78% Scotland 75%
Now Scots are only 3% less keen on reform than the UK sample.

How about this one:

"Public services need reform more than they need extra money"
Percentage agreeing:
UK 78% Scotland 76%
The gap's down to 2%.

Another one:

"In the modern world it is important for a country to keep taxes low to remain competitive"
Percentage agreeing:
UK 76% Scotland 77%
Now Scots want low taxes so as to be able to compete!

Next question:

"Taxes have gone up but services haven't improved much and there is a lot of waste"
Percentage agreeing:
UK 82% Scotland 84%
We're more doubtful about the "benefits" of increased spending than the average person in the UK.


"If taxes are cut the economy will grow faster, which will mean higher living standards AND more money available for public service"
Percentage agreeing:
UK 62% Scotland 74%
So Scots are the supply-siders of Britain!

This is not what we have led to believe. In many respects Scots are more cynical about government spending than people in the UK as a whole. What we need is political leadership that acknowledges this fact. The question that needs answering is this: Why does the Scottish Parliament contain five and a half socialist parties?