Tax

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th April 2017.

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Photo of Chris Davies Chris Davies Conservative, Brecon and Radnorshire 12:00 am, 19th April 2017

What discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on their new tax powers.

Photo of Ranil Jayawardena Ranil Jayawardena Conservative, North East Hampshire

What discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on their new tax powers.

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell The Secretary of State for Scotland

The UK and Scottish Governments continue to engage closely on the devolution of new tax powers. The Scottish Government are now responsible for setting the rates and thresholds of income tax. It is of course incumbent on them to use their powers to make Scotland an attractive place to live and work.

Photo of Chris Davies Chris Davies Conservative, Brecon and Radnorshire

Now that the Scottish Government have unprecedented power to shape the economy of Scotland, will my right hon. Friend join me in calling on the Scottish National party to start delivering jobs and economic growth in Scotland, rather than focusing on a second independence referendum? [Interruption.]

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell The Secretary of State for Scotland

The shouts from Opposition Members just highlight the complacency of the SNP in relation to the Scottish economy, which contracted by 2% in the fourth quarter of 2016 while the UK economy grew by 0.7%. No Scot can be proud of that comparison.

Photo of Ranil Jayawardena Ranil Jayawardena Conservative, North East Hampshire

Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is terrible that middle earners in Scotland are being penalised £400 this year by the Scottish Government, and by up to £1,400 by 2020-21, compared with England, where we have higher tax thresholds to help hard-working families?

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell The Secretary of State for Scotland

My hon. Friend is right to highlight that point. I might not like the plans to make Scotland the most taxed part of the United Kingdom, but I acknowledge that that is a matter for the Scottish Government. They will have to account for their taxation policies, and the forthcoming general election will no doubt highlight these issues.

Photo of Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Trade and Investment)

The average band D council tax bill in Scotland is almost £400 lower than it is in England. Will the Secretary of State’s discussions consider how local authorities in England can learn from Scotland’s successes in providing local and national services while maintaining the lowest council tax rate in the UK?

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell The Secretary of State for Scotland

The hon. Lady may have spoken to the SNP press office, but she certainly has not spoken to councils throughout Scotland, which are uniform in their negativity in respect of the Scottish Government’s approach to local government funding.

Photo of Hannah Bardell Hannah Bardell Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Business, Innovation and Skills)

As a last act of kindness, and while he still has his seat and his position, will the Secretary of State address the closure of the Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs office in my constituency, which threatens 1,000 job losses and a move to Edinburgh? A cross-party group of politicians, including members of his own party, has written to him, but he has ignored that. As his swansong, will he come to Livingston and save those jobs?

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell The Secretary of State for Scotland

As the hon. Lady knows, I have set out clearly, in correspondence with all who have been in touch with me, the rationale for the move and the changes in the arrangements for HMRC. Many of those changes were called for by Members on both sides of the House on the grounds of efficiency and effectiveness, but obviously no Members like to see significant changes in employment patterns in their constituencies, and I commend the hon. Lady for the way in which she has pursued the issue.