Friday 1 April 2005

Who will cut tax?

I noted this letter from reader Neil Craig:
As he states later, since our total corporation tax receipts are £2.1 billion, a cut of one-third would be £700 million. Scottish Enterprise already costs us £500 million, for less obvious effect, and Holyrood has regularly had an underspend of £500 million. This is, therefore, clearly affordable.
Neil's writing about the SNP's proposals for cutting corporation tax in Scotland.

The Tories Conservatives have their own tax cutting plans as Peter MacMahon observes today:

Monteith and McLetchie would privatise Scottish Water, move schools spending to the centre to cut council taxes, slash £250 million from Scottish Enterprise, abandon community schools and set up state-funded academies. And they would, they say, be able to give pensioners a council-tax discount, cut the business rate, employ more police and fill some more of the many pot-holes in Scotland’s appalling road system. THERE are flaws in the plan. First, it assumes that the Executive’s promise of £745 million in "efficiency gains" by 2007/08 can be met - an assumption that many Labour MSPs privately doubt. Unlike the Executive, though, Monteith is prepared to say that his plans would involve getting rid of some 1,000 civil servants, which would certainly go some way towards meeting the efficiency target.
But a couple of weeks ago Mr MacMahon wrote this:
Mr McLetchie clearly believes in moving slowly. The danger of that is that he could be over-taken. The Scottish National Party is beginning to move towards the centre and beyond by looking not just at low business taxes but at low personal taxes. Serious people in the SNP are beginning to think about the benefits of small government. It may not be long before the SNP, like other nationalist parties across Europe, continues formally to support "independence" but pragmatically aims for office based on running a low-tax, pro-enterprise Scotland with greater devolved powers. And that could put the Scottish Tories out of business.
I'm still not convinced that there's enough support among the SNP's membership and elected politicians to push through a tax cutting agenda at Holyrood. There again, the Tories Conservatives have failed to make a proper case for a smaller state during their time in opposition at Westminster - that's the cause of the Howard Flight debacle. It looks likely that Labour will win again at the general election. If the Tories Conservatives have any sense they would then ditch their NuLab-lite stance and adopt a radical libertarian position. I have a horrible feeling that they'll be "frit" and thus continue down the road to irrelevancy and destruction. In Scotland would the SNP then become a genuinely pro-business party while the Tories Conservatives drift off into the sunset?


David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Stuart Dickson
Glad you found my links to Scottish Political Blogs useful. I believe that it is the most comprehensive such list of links available anywhere, and I try to keep it bang up to date. F&W is one of, if not the, best; but there are actually quite a few well-written and researched Scottish political blogs now, and I expect the number to grow steadily. 
- "... one recent opinion poll put them 5 points clear." 
I assume that you are talking about GB, because no Scottish opinion poll has measured them in even second place for many years now, let alone ahead! The Tories could actually be well ahead of Labour in Great Britain, but still lose the General Election! This is due to the idiotic First Past the Post electoral system. In fact one amateur psephologist over at actually calculated that theoretically Labour could have a majority of seats on only 13% of the vote! 
See this site by another Scot, Martin Baxter: 

5 April 2005, 08:36:03 GMT+01:00
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Hi just found this blog from stuarts at independance, will be away to sleep in minute 
first good blog, good to find another scots blog, will link ASAP and second might end up with tories after all, one recent opinion poll put them 5 points clear 
good night

5 April 2005, 03:18:39 GMT+01:00
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Stuart Dickson
Dear Mr Junor fan, 
Being pro- oligopolistic suppliers of goods and services ("business") is just as damaging to wealth-creation as being pro- oligopolistic suppliers of labour ("tradeunionism"). 
The raison-d'etre of both types of organisation is to minimise, or preferably eliminate, competitors. Why do you think the big business backers of the Tory party hate the EU? Because they don't like the prospect of all that healthy new competition. They do not like it up 'em!

4 April 2005, 21:23:55 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer said...

John Junor
To equate pro-business with pro-tradeunionism illustrates how little Dickson knows about free markets. If he is going to employ Junorisms like 'sick bag' he should at least get his facts right; the old tyrant usually did.

4 April 2005, 08:34:00 GMT+01:00
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Arthur's Seat
Mr and Mrs Seat were married in East Sussex - if Stuart doesn't want the nomination, I'll ask the wife...

2 April 2005, 18:34:35 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer
Sussex free by twenty-twenty three!

1 April 2005, 19:39:57 GMT+01:00
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Stuart Dickson
I'm sure that there must be plenty of handsome young Tory (oops, "Conservative") chaps/wags/cads in West Sussex for the local blue-rinses to choose from. Fortunately, there are bugger all in Scotland. 
I may have to check dates with my elders and betters, but I believe that there may be a distinct possibility that I was conceived in West Sussex! Does that qualify me to be the local SNP Prospective Parliamentary Candidate?

1 April 2005, 18:44:50 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer
West Sussex - Howard Flight's constituency.

1 April 2005, 17:03:19 GMT+01:00
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Stuart Dickson
Eh... thanks for the kind offer. 
I fear I must decline. 
1. I am not a Tory (oops, Conservative), but a liberal-minded member of the SNP. 
2. Westminster is not my cup of tea; although I dare say that a pad in the City, funded by the taxpayers, would be a lovely perk. 
3. Where the hell is Arundel?

1 April 2005, 16:35:45 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer
You're correct. I should have written "pro-market". Glad to see that you understand the libertarian position even if I was still asleep earlier today. Do you fancy being the Tory (oops, Conservative) candidate at Arundel?

1 April 2005, 15:29:49 GMT+01:00
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Andrew Ian Dodge
Tax cuts...the policy that dare not speak its name. Its a great shame that the Conservative Policy doesn't reflect the wishes of the Tory audience and the non-MP speakers at the CWF meeting instead of the limp policy that Flight got sacked over.

1 April 2005, 14:22:15 GMT+01:00
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Stuart Dickson
David, may I just clarify one small, but vital point. You say "a genuinely pro-business party". I think that upon reflection you will find that what you really meant to say was "a genuinely pro-market party". Certainly, that is my understanding of the libertarian approach. 
It is a fundamental distinction. I personally am horrified by the prospect of "pro-business" politicians, in much the same way as I am horrified by protectionist politicians, pro-trades-union politicians, pro-"fair-trade" (sic) politicians, pro-export-subsidy politicians, and anti-free-movement-of-labour politicians. 
All those categories of politicians (ie. nearly all of them) encourage the development of oligopolies, by discouraging new entrants and new competition. Whenever I hear Murdo Fraser MSP chanting his "pro-business" credentials I reach for the sick-bag, and the metaphorical pitchfork. 
Lets have lots more pro-competition, pro-market and vociferously anti-oligopoly politicians (and as a pre-requisite: voters).

1 April 2005, 12:34:48 GMT+01:00