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150207corporationtax

The SNP would turn Scotland into a tax haven with a policy similar to that of the Conservative Party, according to the best evidence available on the day after Labour announced it would crack down on tax avoidance.

The Courier stated in August last year: “SNP proposals to cut corporation tax could turn an independent Scotland into a tax haven for multinational companies such as Google and Microsoft, according to Labour’s finance spokesman.

“[Iain] Gray told [an] audience of small business owners: “If you deliberately set your corporation tax, not at what you think is right, but less than the country next door to you, what you’re doing is you’re trying to create yourself as a tax haven.”

But Scottish Finance Minister John Swinney said the proposed cut in corporation tax would make Scotland a more competitive place to do business and create an incentive for growth, according to the article.

Of course, cutting Corporation Tax in order to get businesses to base themselves in your country is now a well-known phenomenon. The Irish republic did it – and what happened? According to Mr Gray: “Google and Microsoft set up in Ireland, move their money through Ireland but don’t employ people there; they simply use it as a conduit in order to pay less tax.”

George Osborne has tried a similar policy UK-wide, cutting Corporation tax by 25 per cent during the course of the Coalition Parliament. The result has been a drop in Treasury tax receipts.

So what can be said about SNP policy, on the day after Labour announced it would crack down on tax havens?

Only that they would copy the Tories – and try to turn Scotland into one.

(Or are we about to hear an announcement?)

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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