By Martin Kelly
A pledge by pro-Union parties that Scotland will receive new tax raising powers in the event of a No vote have been further called into question after it emerged the Lib Dems have ruled out variable tax rates across the UK.
In a letter to Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has confirmed that the policy of the UK Government was to prevent parts of the UK from setting independent tax rates in each band to prevent one part of the UK benefitting “at the expense of the UK as a whole”.

The emergence of the letter which rules out allowing parts of the UK being to set independent tax rates in each band, contradicts recent comments from Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg in which he said that he supports the full recommendations of the Silk Commission on devolution in Wales.

The SNP has insisted Mr Alexander’s communication is confirmation that the Lib Dems say one thing in campaign mode and another when they are in government.

The revelation follows on from comments from London Mayor Boris Johnson in which he said that there is “no need” for Scotland to have more powers in the event of a No vote.  Mr Johnson made the claim on the same day he signalled his intention to run for the leadership of the Conservative party.

Commenting on the apparent contradictions within the No campaign, SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said:

“Yesterday we already saw Boris Johnson let the cat out of the bag saying that there is ‘no need’ for more powers – showing us what the Tories are really thinking.  This revelation shows that the Lib Dems are no better.

“The Lib Dems claim to be in favour of federalism – and have been talking about it for 100 years – but when they have the power to act, they simply toe the Westminster line.

“This only confirms that the No camp will say one thing during the campaign and do another thing in government – we simply can’t rely on them to deliver the powers we need to grow our economy.

“A Yes vote is our one opportunity to have Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands – and to have all the powers we need to make Scotland’s wealth work for everyone who lives here.”

In his January letter, Danny Alexander stated: “We have been clear that tax devolution should not benefit one part of the UK at the expense of others, but should be a lever to generate additional growth. Requiring any change in the Welsh rate to be the same for all bands is consistent with this approach.”

Mr Alexander warned that if the rates paid by the upper bands were lowered there would be a “considerable incentive for high earners to move across the border, benefiting Wales at the expense of the UK as a whole.”

Responding, Plaid leader Leanne Wood said: “In the first instance I think it is time the Deputy Prime Minister came clean and actually spelt out where his party stands. As the letter I received from the Lib Dem Treasury Minister clearly shows, in Government the Lib Dems have no intention of contemplating tax devolution that might lead to Wales being equipped with the powers needed to kick-start the economy.”


2014-08-12 06:05

In a foreign country, someone lied.
Scotland’s trust curled up and died.
2014-08-12 06:12

Did anyone actually believe that because three leaders and their branch officers signed a bit of paper that they’d actually keep their word? Those three in particular?
2014-08-12 08:33

Yes, because you can fool some of the people all of the time.
2014-08-12 09:43

Good point.

Some folk never learn.

Leader of the Pack
2014-08-12 08:45

It is unbelievable that the No campaigns entire foundation and arsenal consists singularly of their credibility.

Astonishingly they have reduced the whole Indy ref campaign down to that one singular view point. Believe us on faith.

Believe us when we say there will be no CU in spite of all the evidence pointing out why there should and needs to be one.

Believe us when we say there will be more significant powers given to the Scot Parliament in spite of various members of our campaign saying why there wont be.

Believe us when we say Scotland will be ejected from the EU in direct contradiction to their rules

This incredibly is the battleground the No campaign have chosen to fight on.
And why? Because they know the media not only wont question their credibility but will actively create levels of credibility simply by attacking the evidence that contradicts it.

I will truly despair if this tactic wins the vote.
2014-08-12 08:57

This letter provides further corroboration that no substantive extra powers will be devolved.

But the big kahuna on busting the jam tomorrow devolution caper wide open, is Boris Johnson’s revelations. They can be a game changer in my view, but they require exposition and extrapolation, and delivery to the voters in the form of simple memes that can propagate organically*.

The evidence is now irrefutable: There is more demonstrable risk in voting NO that voting YES.

Voting YES can now be presented to the risk-averse as the lesser of 2 evils. For that cohort not being swayed by the narrative of the positive-but-risky adventure of YES, the simple meme to inculcate is: YES risks failure but NO guarantees it.

*Too long to say below the line. More here…/
2014-08-12 09:00

The London based parties only promise more devolution to Scotland when threatened with independence.
If they are as far ahead in the polls as they claim,why are they making the pretence of more powers?
Leader of the Pack
2014-08-12 10:59

That’s a very good point coupled with the fact that their polling claims are now coming from the single source of YouGov who have continued to produce results in direct contradiction to all of the other polling organisations voting intention trends.

Only Yougov are showing the vote margins widening again to last years levels.
Yougov are now out on their own. They have diverged so significantly from the rest proving the fact that they are and always have been an active participant in the No campaign.

We first saw the evidence of this in their polling trends during the last Scottish Parliamentary elections.

Just like the BBC the OBR the FSI the CBI the Herald the Scotsman the telegraph the Guardian the Times the Record the Mirror the Sun etc ……..

There is no significant UK body that isn’t opposed to the break up of the UK.
Most of the polling companies are still only using voters signed in to ring fenced databases.

2014-08-12 09:08

Possible future PM Boris puts the NO back into the No Campaign.
2014-08-12 09:49

On this morning’s Good Morning Scotland, Danny Alexander made two diametrically opposing claims, unchallenged by the presenter Gary Robertson. Firstly he claimed the rise in jobs in Scotland were thanks to our being part of the Union. Then bizarrely he made the counter claim that businesses (and thus jobs) were failing to locate in Scotland “because of the uncertainty caused by the referendum”.

Maybe this ambivalent statement is part of his confused vision of the Union being the “best of both worlds”? How can his claim that fear of Scottish independence is deterring jobs growth, when his own quoted figures show the exact opposite?
2014-08-12 11:44

Come May 2015 – 9 months away- Mr Alexander may not be a Cabinet Minister in a coalition government; after the pasting the Liberals took over their volte face on tuition fees we expect the voters to reject them.
A Yes vote may actually help them live to fight another day. Have they thought about this?

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