Thursday, December 02, 2010

Scotland's Martin Gilbert wants the poor to pay the rich's taxes

The Scottish Herald is carrying an article entitled Asset chief would turn Scotland into tax haven, breathlessly citing public lobbying by Martin Gilbert of Aberdeen Asset Management who wants to accelerate Scotland's descent as fast as possible. (This man has form as a lobbyist for the wealthy.) This follows news that the British government, whose Conservative leaders are strong allies of the offshore City of London and its network of satellite tax havens, is to devolve major tax-raising powers to Scotland.

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore called the new Scotland Bill "the biggest transfer of fiscal power to Scotland since the creation of the United Kingdom."

Currently, Scotland is empowered to raise taxes by three pence in the pound above or below the tax rates set in the United Kingdom, though it has never done so. The new move will give Scotland the powers to raise up to a third of its budget from 2015. The Scotland Bill follows a review last year suggesting that Scotland should be allowed to raise up to half its income tax revenue.

Let's hope that Gilbert doesn't get his wish, and that Scotland will create a new secrecy space (for that is what will inevitably happen, if the offshore model is adopted.) That will benefit Mr. Gilbert and some of his friends. It will wreak havoc elsewhere - and to ordinary Scots too, who will get to suffer from the Jersey Disease.

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