FoI papers

SNP planned new tax on businesses, say Tories

John Swinney
John Swinney: urged to come clean on tax plans

SNP leader John Swinney has been urged to explain a plan for a new tax it planned to impose on Scottish businesses.

The Scottish Conservatives says the plan, proposed in 2022-23, is revealed in documents released in response to a Freedom of Information request.

A Scottish Government policy document outlined proposals to introduce a new tax on energy businesses and potentially increase non-domestic rates, say the Tories.

The Scottish Conservatives said John Swinney must rule out ever introducing the “North East tax” at the SNP manifesto launch on Wednesday.

They also said the SNP must come clean about the scale of the party’s tax-raising plans, since the document is heavily redacted.

Amidst the many hidden sections, the policy paper outlines a “new action” to explore ways to use “tax powers” to target company profits. It goes on to state that “non-domestic rates could be increased…” through a new law.

Ahead of today’s publication of the SNP manifesto,. Scottish Conservative candidate for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, Andrew Bowie, said: “These new documents reveal the SNP were secretly planning a huge tax hike on Scottish businesses.

“The SNP’s North East tax would have put jobs at risk and hammered the local energy sector. 

“John Swinney must rule out ever introducing such a damaging new tax. He must also come clean about the scale of these plans because SNP secrecy has limited how much we know about this worrying proposal.

“There are so many redactions that we don’t know if the nationalists were planning to try and raise millions or billions from businesses.

“People in the North East deserve to hear straight answers from the SNP. Will they try to introduce this North East tax after the election?”

Chambers of Commerce sets out priorities

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce, which represents 12,000 businesses, has published a 15-point action plan for the next UK Government.

It wants Westminster to establish a Joint Economic Growth Board, a partnership between business and government, within its first 100 days in office to oversee aprogramme of pro-enterprise and pro-growth policies.

Key priorities for the SCC are a commitment to no new taxes or levies on business for the lifetime of the next parliament, investment in a Green Industrial Strategy, boosting global trade, developing a skilled workforce – including a migration strategy – a detailed just transition plan for the oil and gas sector, cutting VAT across the hospitality, leisure, and tourism sectors, and a plan for towns and cities.

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