Income Tax now devolved to Holyrood
30th November 2016, St. Andrew's Day, was the day on which income tax powers were formally transferred to the Scottish Parliament. Holyrood can now fix its own rates and thresholds.
So what will the Scottish Government do? Already it has said that there will be no tax reductions for higher earners. But what about low earners – will they be any better off? The Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay, will deliver his draft budget on 15th December. He says “our income tax proposals for 2017/18 will aim to protect lower income taxpayers and generate extra revenue for us to invest in public services."
If this is the target, he should look to alternative means of raising revenue and reduce his reliance on taxes that penalise people for working. The logical source is Annual Ground Rent. He could then slash the rate of income tax for wage earners and lift a huge burden from the economy by tapping a source of revenue that is entirely publicly-generated and which ought to be recycled into the public purse.
Are we due another financial crisis?
Annual Ground Rent (AGR) The fair replacement for Council Tax
In the invitation to download its final report, the Commission on Local Tax Reform says, "The current system of Council Tax must end....it is not fair, progressive or locally empowering".
Dr. Duncan Pickard examines the options in Bulletin 4:
Manifesto for a Sovereign Scottish Economy
Commentators claim that the Scottish economy is weakening, which is why they say that finance minister John Swinney cannot balance Scotland's budget. This pessimism is based on an economic model that consigns Scotland to low growth. Yet Scotland's economy could do much, much better.
Read SLRG Bulletin 3:
From Black Holes to Pots of Gold
Scotland can strike out on an independent path to social renewal and realise the SNP goals of enhancing people's lives and abolishing inequality.
Read Professor Roger Sandiland's and economist Fred Harrison's SLRG Bulletin 2:
The Great Betrayal
The Landlords’ Parliament in Westminster twice betrayed its legal obligation to Scotland. The first betrayal was of the Treaty of Union. In 1707 the agreement between Scotland and England was grounded in the Land Tax. The treaty was subverted by England’s aristocracy and gentry. They replaced the Land Tax with regressive taxes that degraded people’s life chances.
The second betrayal was in 1910. The people of Scotland initiated the democratic mandate for The People’s Budget. They wanted to restore their financial rights under the 1707 treaty. The Budget was enacted into law, but the landlords blocked its implementation.
Read the full article below (Bulletin 1), or as a shortened Bulletin 1
Deaths By Acts Of Parliament
By Fred Harrison
The Labour Party’s Jeremy Corbyn is expected to team up with the Scottish National Party in opposing Tory Government plans to renew the Trident nuclear weapons system at Faslane Naval Base on the Clyde.
Blairgowrie-based infographics artist Ian Kirkwood has placed the debate over nuclear weapons in context with a new graphic. His point is that, while politicians argue about the morality of weapons of mass destruction, their Acts of Parliament are killing tens of thousands of UK citizens every year.