“We don’t have enough money to do what we would like..”

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has told the BBC’s Politics Show, in Scotland at least, that after ten years of devolved power he now backs a review of the powers of the Scottish Parliament, including taxation policy. Or, as Brian Taylor puts it, he has joined the McChattering classes. Should we be concerned here? If such a review here was to include a review of the mandatory coalition, perhaps not. But if it does not, then these recent comments, from Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, without going into the SF position on reducing corporation tax [here or there? – Ed], may be an indication of what some would seek to use any tax-raising powers to do.

“We don’t have enough money to do what we would like. The reality is that the Executive has to work within an inadequate block grant from the British Government. It is a significant problem that taxation and public expenditure policies are determined in London.”

, , ,

  • kensei

    Left party might want to raise taxes to finance more spending? Am I missing something here?

  • Pete Baker

    “Am I missing something here?”

    Ken

    When Sinn Féin had the opportunity to confirm that they might raise taxes to finance more spending in the Republic of Ireland’s General Election.. Gerry chose not to.

  • One of ERINI’s arguments for a corporation tax cut was their estimate that it would be revenue positive within six years.

    That obviously looks more questionable now given the current investment climate. Nevertheless, if Scotland is going down this road, there has to be a strong argument for Northern Ireland to follow suit to maintain its competitive position.

  • Pete Baker

    Tom

    You may be futuring somewhat on the Scottish corporation tax issue.

    What Brown is supporting is a review of who decides. Not what those levels of taxation will be.

  • True Pete, but I think it is a fairly safe assumption that any of the devolved administrations would be eager to cut corporation tax given the power to do so.

  • Pete Baker

    Perhaps, Tom, just perhaps.

    But if they also seek to increase the overall tax take, then we need to hear the detail on how they propose to do that.

  • kensei

    When Sinn Féin had the opportunity to confirm that they might raise taxes to finance more spending in the Republic of Ireland’s General Election.. Gerry chose not to.

    Party of the left hastily backs out of said suggestion because they fear it will cost them votes…. still looking for a story.

    And realistically Pete, as Tom points out it is perfectly possible to support cutting business taxes and still be within the bounds of that statement. There are also any number of ways to raise taxation indirectly if the powers are there.

    The fact that London sets out tax rates is significant. Small-c conservatives should actually be concerned the most with it, because you have a body whose incentive is only to spend – any benefits form cutting taxes does not accrue to the body but instead to the Treasury, and any money not spent is simply returned. The only reason we don’t have it is fear of what it would do to the Union.

  • kensei

    Perhaps, Tom, just perhaps.

    But if they also seek to increase the overall tax take, then we need to hear the detail on how they propose to do that.

    They say the current cycle runs ten years and in that time the corporation tax cut is net positive?

    C’mon Pete, there are any number of ways to play this game, and there is even less in this than the current education proposals.

  • Pete Baker

    So let’s see the detail, Ken. That’s all I’m asking for.

    Rather than a declared desire for more [public] money to spend.

  • DC

    Surely in doing so the quest for a federal UK should also be encouraged, especially if Barnett were to be removed in the context of new tax-varying powers that put revenue and thus spend competence in new areas.

  • red branch

    With the current revelations about the ongoing saga of the Paisley’s and there financial dealings, the less tax raising powers the Assembly has the better!

  • kensei

    So let’s see the detail, Ken. That’s all I’m asking for.

    Rather than a declared desire for more [public] money to spend.

    Pete, this is up there with “Tories suggest they might like to cut taxes”. We are no where near an election where you might have a point.