Paisley, McGuinness and Salmond to form fiscal pressure group?

The variation of Corporation Tax across the UK may one of the unlikeliest (and possibly least important) outcomes from today’s summit between Scotland and Northern Ireland’s devolved leadership. But when Alex Salmond talks about fiscal independence, he may be pushing at a slightly open door with both the DUP and Sinn Fein since both have talked about the desirability of tax varying powers. Scotland already has these, but under a Labour administration never seemed in the least tempted to use them. Tom Gordon in the Sunday Times reports:

The visit is the first step in Salmond’s plan to unite the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in order to confront Gordon Brown with joint demands when he is prime minister.

The intitial request will be to revive a series of mothballed joint ministerial committees between the regions and Whitehall, in which cabinet secretaries would thrash out cross-border issues, with an annual meeting of the three first ministers and the prime minister.

After establishing the formal framework, Salmond intends to push for more financial powers for the Scottish parliament, with corporation tax a priority. The SNP government wants to cut the rate from 30% to 20%, while the Northern Ireland government has argued that, as part of the peace process, it should have parity with the Irish Republic, where the rate is 12.5%.

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  • Prince Eoghan

    Today it’s fiscal independence, tomorrow it’s the world!

    No wonder the Labour party hates wee Alex so, not only does he upset the apple cart by pumping them big style in the Holyrood and council elections. His party also exposed the cash for honours shenanigans, and now he seeks to build a pretty formidable Celtic coalition ‘of the willing’ (sorry George) who may become useful to him in his ultimate aim. That is to make sure that Scotland takes it’s rightful place at the table of nations and not have a bigger more powerful neighbour decide her affairs.

    I wonder just how Mr Prudent himself Gordon Brown is going to deal with these demands?

  • BonarLaw

    Prince Eoghan

    “to make sure that Scotland takes it’s rightful place at the table of nations and not have a bigger more powerful neighbour decide her affairs”

    That might be true if Scotland did not run the UK. As it is, House of Commoms maths, Labour Party politics and asymetrical devolution dictate that she decides her neighbours’ affairs.

  • curious

    [i]”The visit is the first step in Salmond’s plan to unite the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in order to confront Gordon Brown with joint demands when he is prime minister.”[/i]

    This is excellent news. Paisley and the DUP are not stupid The poor SF election results in the ROI and now this coming together of Paisley & Salmond will put to bed all this silly talk of a UI by SF during Gordon Brown’s term of office as PM.

    While Blair, and his former left wing commie buddies Reid, & Prescott, had a sympathetic ear for a UI to Gerry & Martin during their 10 year reign at westminister the shinners will not receive the same sympathy from the new labour PM or any of the present scottish front benchers. Brown’s determination in keeping Scotland within the Union will no doubt be the same for keeping Northern Ireland also within the union.

  • Diluted Orange

    [i]Brown’s determination in keeping Scotland within the Union will no doubt be the same for keeping Northern Ireland also within the union.[/i]

    I doubt that, unless Northern Ireland suddenly becomes an economically viable entity. A cut in public sector jobs would, for instance, be a disaster for NI because a huge proportion of jobs here are one way or the other linked to government departments. We are still a basket case economy and will continue to be a burden to the UK, or the RoI in the event of a UI, for many years to come.

    I would also be quite interested in how Mr Salmond plans to include Martin McGuinness in his Celtic super team in Westminster? Martin had more influence on front bench MPs in the House of Commons when he was blowing up stuff in the 70s – this ‘influence’ has waned significantly since he became an absentee MP for Mid-Ulster.