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Income Tax

Volume 598: debated on Wednesday 15 July 2015

4. What recent discussions he has had with Ministers of the Scottish Government on progress on implementing the Scottish rate of income tax. (900934)

The UK and Scottish Governments continue to work closely with each other on the implementation of the Scottish rate of income tax. The question now is how the Scottish Government will use the new power when it comes into effect in April 2016.

Transferring control of income tax to Scotland requires Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to identify who Scottish taxpayers are, but over the last year we have seen an increase in the risk rating by HMRC in terms of its ability to identify those taxpayers. Has that risk increased or decreased recently?

I can tell the House that the UK Government and the Scottish Government work closely together on this issue. Despite the bluster that we often see here, the reality is that the UK and Scottish Governments are working closely on many important issues for the people of Scotland. I am absolutely confident that the Scottish rate of income tax will be capable of being introduced next April. HMRC has done the necessary work; what we need now is to hear from the SNP what it intends to do with those tax powers.

In discussions with Scottish Ministers on the implementation of the Scottish rate of income tax, has the Secretary of State considered the benefits of devolving national insurance? Has he ruled out the devolution of additional tax powers or the full devolution of income tax to the Scottish Parliament—despite what was said before the “indyref”?

I would have given the proposal to devolve national insurance contributions a lot more credibility if a single SNP Member had stood up and spoken in favour of it during the Committee stage of the Scotland Bill. Instead, we had the spectacle of putting the issue to a vote without one Member setting out why the measure would benefit the people of Scotland.