Tories on economy
Ross says Greens have forced SNP to ditch growth
Scottish Conservative Party leader Douglas Ross will campaign for lower taxation and cuts to business red tape as he claims the Green party has forced SNP government to sideline the economic agenda.
Announcing his party’s plans to drive growth, he told a press conference in Edinburgh that he was “sick and tired” of the SNP blaming its problems on a lack of powers.
He said the SNP was not talking about economic growth because its Green party partner was against it, though the Greens could not take all the blame for the SNP’s failures.
“The SNP’s incompetence started well before the Bute House agreement,” he said, referring to the deal that brought the Greens into government
Mr Ross said the Tories’ priorities would include a “regulation handbrake” to pause red tape during times of low economic activity, a national workforce plan to align skills with the needs of business, and replacing business rates by a new – though unspecified – new system.
He was asked if he supported entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter’s recent call for a 15% corporation tax to be applied to key sectors in Scotland.
Sir Tom, basing his call on a paper by Oxford Economics, said the Holyrood and Westminster government’s should together seek to emulate Ireland’s success through low business taxes.
Mr Ross, a Westminster MP as well as Holyrood MSP, replied that corporation tax was “an issue for the UK government and it is something being discussed.”
However, he said his party’s new paper “Grasping the Thistle” was focused on the First Minister’s forthcoming programme for government and made no further comment on business taxes.
He said he would be calling for a debate in Holyrood on the short-term letting legislation which has caused uproar across the accommodation sector.
He hopes that enough opposition can be mounted to halt the new regulations which require premises to be licensed. First Minister Humza Yousaf has rejected calls to push back the 1 October deadline.
The Green party’s finance spokesperson, Ross Greer, branded the Tory leader’s economic vision as a ‘meaningless shambles.’
He said: “This isn’t an economic vision for Scotland, it’s a shambolic tribute act to Liz Truss and her disastrous few weeks in office. The last thing Scotland’s public services and economy need is more incompetent Conservative policymaking.”