Scottish budget bill: growth, not tax, is the answer

Ahead of the Scottish Parliament’s debate on the Budget Bill on Thursday 2 February, Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) have warned over any moves to increase the Draft Budget’s tax plans even further. Commenting, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of SCC, said:

“When the Scottish Government set out its Draft Budget in December, businesses were nervous about the dangerous precedent that would be set through plans to create a differential between Income Tax bandings north and south of the border. Whilst these plans may seem modest in year one, the gap is set to widen over time, creating a further barrier to Scottish business competitiveness, threatening jobs, and damaging Scotland’s attractiveness to inward investors.

“Now there appears to be a possibility that Scotland’s politicians may consider even more punitive Scottish tax rises in order to secure the passage of the Budget Bill. Such a move could prove to be highly dangerous at a time where Scotland’s economy is growing at a third of the rate of the UK as a whole.

“Businesses are already faced with a business rates revaluation that will be hard felt in some of our key sectors and regions, and the new Apprenticeship Levy, due to hit larger businesses in April. The last thing they need at this time of finely balanced challenge and opportunity is the prospect of even more tax rises.

“The Scottish Parliament has a new and enhanced position of responsibility in terms of tax in Scotland. The sooner our politicians realise that supporting economic growth, rather than hiking up taxes, is the route towards increasing revenues and improving investment in key services, the quicker Scotland will prosper.”