Future Government of Scotland

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 9:40 pm on 23rd November 1987.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord James Douglas-Hamilton Lord James Douglas-Hamilton , Edinburgh West 9:40 pm, 23rd November 1987

That is precisely why we wish to reform the rating system in favour of a fairer system of taxation.

We are discussing differentially higher tax rates in Scotland. They will have a depressing and, possibly, destructive effect on the Scottish economy and lead to the emigration of capital and labour. That point was touched on by various hon. Members, including my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Irvine).

Inward investment is important. In 1981, the Locate in Scotland organisation was set up as a joint venture between the Scottish Office and the Scottish Development Agency. In its six-year existence, it has helped to attract planned investment of about £2·6 billion and to create and safeguard about 46,000 jobs.

In the House of Commons, the hon. Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook) said: Any power to raise revenue in Scotland would create a tax unique to Scotland, which therefore would be politically unacceptable to the Scots and administratively cumbersome to the civil servants." [Official Report,14 November 1977; Vol. 939, c. 161.] Higher rates of tax would be likely to lead to higher wage demands, and that, too, would act as a constraint on the creation of new jobs. Higher income tax in Scotland might cause a brain drain to other parts of the United Kingdom and abroad. Indeed, further taxation would be damaging to jobs. In the past, various hon. Members—[Interruption.]