HC Deb 23 May 2000 vol 350 cc849-50
4. Sir Teddy Taylor (Rochford and Southend, East)

If he will meet the Scottish Executive to discuss the implications for the Scottish economy of devolved tax-raising powers. [121875]

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Dr. John Reid)

I meet regularly with Scottish Executive Ministers to discuss a range of issues.

Sir Teddy Taylor

Does the Secretary of State agree that an additional rate of income tax, apart from doing economic damage to Scotland, would create a bureaucratic nightmare—particularly, for example, for self-employed organisations that do work both north and south of the border and for people moving house during the year? Will he at least have a discussion with the Scottish Executive to ensure that, before the system is implemented, it will work? Will he personally urge the Scottish Parliament not to get involved in a tartan tax?

Dr. Reid

I always have the feeling that the hon. Gentleman is arguing the case from where he left off when he departed Scotland. All of those issues were settled many years ago, and the Scottish people voted for a tax-raising power. However, it is obvious that if any Scottish Executive wished to implement the power, they would ensure that it worked before going ahead with it. As for the current, Labour-led Scottish Executive, before the Scottish parliamentary elections, the Labour party made it clear that it would not be using that tax-raising power in the first Parliament. The matter, therefore, does not arise in the immediate future.