Friday, 3 February 2017

Scotland, for £8 a week

The Scottish Parliament at Holyrood passed its budget yesterday. Thanks to the Scottish Greens, the SNP was able to make a coalition majority in favour.

To do so, the SNP agreed a Green Party amendment, meaning that the 360,000 people in Scotland who pay the highest income tax rate (40%), would pay £400 more per year than people on the same wage in England.

That's just under £8 a week.

£8 a week, to live in Scotland.

You'd pay that, wouldn't you?

The argument against this tiny tax-hike is that people with money will move away, taking their businesses with them.

Really? Is there any evidence of that?

In France, around the same number of tax payers (342,942) pay a much heavier tax, the ISF (Impôt Solidaire sur la Fortune). It's based on wealth, not income, and aims to tax the 1% wealthiest in the land. The rate is variable, depending on the amount of wealth you hold, but the average payment is just over €15,000. The French government earns €5.22 billion from this tax. Much more than the £29 million that the tiny shift in Scotland's taxation will raise.

Wealthy people in France don't leave the country because of this tax. In 2015 around 10,000 more people paid the ISF tax than the year before. French business is not collapsing. Entrepreneurs are not leaving the country in droves.


Er, because France is a good place to live. It's worth staying there because the food is better, the social services are better, the TGV (largely) runs on time and the sun never stops shining in Cannes.

Raising tax does not drive people out of the country, if the country is a good place to be.

So yes, as Scotland will show, people on higher incomes will stay in Scotland, pay the £8 a week and contribute a wee bit more to making Scotland a better, fairer, place to live.

No comments:

Post a Comment